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Track Listing:

Variations on Appalachia Waltz I
Variations on Appalachia Waltz II
Variations on Appalachia Waltz III
Variations on Appalachia Waltz IV
Variations on Appalachia Waltz V
Variations on Appalachia Waltz VI
Concerto No. 6.1 Old Brass, The Road is Smooth
Concerto No. 6.2 Old Brass, Span. Moss/Black Water
Concerto No. 6.3 Old Brass Fugue in 6 Parts G&C

Mark O'Connor :

Americana Symphony

Mark O'Connor
Leads An American Classical
Journey With The Release of Americana Symphony

Mark O'Connor's 20-year musical journey from the fiddle competitions of the south to the stages of Carnegie Hall and The Library of Congress reaches a new milestone in Spring 2009 with the release of his debut symphony.  Featuring the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, as led by the world-renowned conductor Marin Alsop, the work takes its inspiration from O'Connor's own melody "Appalachian Waltz," the titular piece from his first collaboration with Yo Yo Ma, in 1995. More importantly, it boldly defines the resurgent American Classical movement that O'Connor helps lead.  Due out on his own OMAC records on March 10, 2009, the album also includes O'Connor's Concerto No. 6, "Old Brass". 

Each of the symphony's six movements depicts a different part of the 19th Century American voyage westward. After establishing the wide-open spaces  of America with the brass fanfare of the first movement, the second movement begins in the Appalachians, where O'Connor conveys the mixture of trepidation and anticipation of a pioneer just setting out in "Different Paths Towards Home" with a pensive mix of strings and woodwinds, eventually reaching a cautious crescendo.  Along the way, there is the joy of a hoedown ("Open Plains Hoedown), the majesty of the Rocky Mountains ("Soaring Eagle, Setting Sun"), and more. 

'Americana Symphony' depicts the American journey through a combination of European, Asian, South American, African, and Native American cultural and musical inspiration.  This melange of techniques combine into something uniquely American – what O'Connor dubs "New American Classical." This is O'Connor's milieu for both composing and performing. His forthcoming violin instructional method focuses on combining traditional Western classical methods with American repertoire and folk fiddling techniques to produce an uniquely American string player of the future.

Concerto No. 6, "Old Brass", also included on the album, was inspired by a O'Connor's visit to a South Carolina plantation designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.  The hexagonal shape of the building inspired groupings of six-note patterns into musical phrases; the plantation's focus on a nearby "black water" lake inspired murky and mysterious Southern harmonies. 

"A hit!"
Marin Alsop-

"With Americana Symphony, Mark O'Connor provides his answer to a question that has intrigued U.S. composers since the debut of Dvorak's New World Symphony in 1892: ' How do you write the great American Symphony? "
David Wallace– Juilliard & NY Phil Faculty

"Very few pieces of new music have same emotional and visceral effect as this Symphony.  It has such power and beauty, and these traits are expressed in original ways that are pure O'Connor and truly American."
William Intrilligator - Artistic Director / Dubuque Symphony

About Mark O'Connor
Mark O'Connor is a composer and violinist whose fluency with both classical and American traditions has made him one of the most acclaimed figures in contemporary music. A true natural talent, Mark O'Connor began performing and touring at only 12 years old. O'Connor is the artist in residence at UCLA's Herb Alpert School of Music, and is on tour throughout the fall and winter. OMAC is O'Connor's own label, distributed through Allegro and IODA.

For information on Mark O'Connor bookings, ensembles, repertoire, sheet music, CD's, string camps and educational materials, please go to www.markoconnor.com