Seattle native Mark O’Connor brings his super-charged ensemble to the Clearwater River Casino Saturday night, Dec. 23, for an “Appalachian Christmas.”The Los Angeles Times has called O’Connor “one of the most talented and imaginative artists working in music — any music — today.”
O’Connor began his musical career at the feet of two esteemed musicians, modern-era American folk fiddler Benny Thomasson, and French jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli, seen as one of the greatest improvisers in the history of the instrument. Combining elements of folk and classical, O’Connor’s body of work includes 45 feature albums of mostly his own compositions, multiple Country Music Association Awards, two symphonies, jazz recordings and a series of books about string education.
The O’Connor Band is his latest project. Saturday’s show features the Grammy-nominated group, which includes members of his family playing music from his successful 2010 release, “An Appalachian Christmas.”
“All Christmas music should be played so elegantly on violin,” opined the Boston Globe.
Before the show, O’Connor shared a few thoughts about music and the band in an email interview with Inland 360.
On why music is important to him ….
Music is about everything to me, yes, I have kids and I am married. Music is the thing I work on every day and it is something that I can do something about. Music is important to me for so many reasons, not the least of which is that as a troubled boy it probably saved my life by focusing on something that was meaningful to both myself and to others I could play for. The ability to make people happy, to make them think about themselves and aspects of their own lives anew is a worthy endeavor. It makes musicians public servants. I have an honorary doctorate for “public service” and I think that was very fitting. That university was thinking outside the box in this case, and I believe appropriately so.
On performing with his family…
After a few years of touring my holiday hit album “An Appalachian Christmas” and having family members join the tour each successive year, beginning with my son Forrest, and next my wife Maggie and then finally my daughter-in-law Kate, we realized that we had something very special, something that we should keep doing beyond the holidays for certain.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: The Mark O’Connor Band, an Appalachian Christmas
WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 23
WHERE: Clearwater River Casino, Lewiston
COST: $20 to $40 available at TicketsWest outlets and ticketswest.com