Violinist Mark O'Connor makes a return visit to Utah to play with the Utah Symphony at Abravanel Hall on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 28-29.
The program will include several of his original compositions including music O'Connor recently composed and recorded for "Liberty," a PBS series on the Revolutionary War.In an interview with the Deseret News last week, O'Connor, who last performed here in 1995, said he was honored the Utah Symphony selected so many of his works for the weekend program, part of the orchestra's 1997-98 Pops series. "Three Pieces for Violin and Orchestra" will be performed for only the third time, he said. It made its debut in Nashville, was played by the Cascade Festival Orchestra in Oregon and now in Salt Lake City.
The three pieces, written for Tennessee's bicentennial celebration, bring together different folk genres, O'Connor said. "The Call of the Mockingbird" is pastoral in nature and celebrates the state's habitat. "Trail of Tears" describes the despair of the Long March, a sorrowful period in the state's history. The final piece, "Fanfare for the Volunteer" is a march that turns into a reel halfway through, he said, and helps celebrate the Tennessee spirit.
Maestro Joseph Silverstein will join O'Connor on violin to perform "Strings and Threads." The two played the piece earlier in Minnesota, O'Connor said.
The guest artist said he spent 165 days on the road last year and expects to do about the same this year. He is also making albums and finding time to compose in hotel rooms and on planes.
An album featuring six capriccios is due out in the spring of 1998 and the "Liberty" recording, done with the National Symphony Orchestra, is due out next fall. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma does two guest appearances on the Liberty album, O'Connor said. He was especially enthusiastic about the work he and Ma did together. "We generated some interesting sound pictures," he said.
His 1996 release, "Appalachia Waltz" with Ma and double bassist Edgar Meyer held the No. 1 spot on Billboard's Top Classical Albums chart for 16 weeks and was named one of the 10 best musical recordings of the year by People magazine.
O'Connor said he recently performed with violinist Joshua Bell in New York in a concert entitled "A Time for Peace" for the United Nations. Bell will also perform with the Utah Symphony in February.
The Utah Symphony performances begin at 8 p.m. both evenings, and tickets range from $17 to $34.