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Multi-Grammy Award-Winning Musician at Utah State University for Arts Week

Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013

composer and musician Mark O'Connor performs at USU

Musician and composer Mark O'Connor will perform at Utah State University as part of the Caine College of the Arts' Arts Week in the Grand Gala Celebration Friday, Jan. 25, 7:30 p.m., Kent Concert Hall, Chase Fine Arts Center.

Mark O’Connor, multi-Grammy winning musician and composer, will perform in the Grand Gala celebration as part of Arts Week at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 25, in the Chase Fine Arts Center’s Kent Concert Hall on Utah State University’s campus.

“Mark O’Connor is one of the most sought-after violinists in the nation today,” said Craig Jessop, dean of the Caine College of the Arts (CCA). “His work not only embodies the classics but also embraces American folk material as well.”

O’Connor began his music career at the feet of music artists Benny Thomasson and Stephane Grappelli. Thomasson was the folk fiddler who created modern fiddling in America and Grappelli was a French jazz violinist, considered one of the greatest violin improvisers in history. Between the two, O’Connor excelled at both violin and fiddle, fusing the two styles together into a new American classical style purely his own.

“We invited Mark to perform because he is one of the most eclectic violinists in the world,” said James Bankhead, music department head in the CCA. “The amazing spectrum of his playing styles is matched by his extraordinary technical facility.”

O’Connor is known for Appalachia Waltz, a million-selling composition, and has authored a new method for violin used by thousands of children. He is the only person who has won the National Fiddle Championship, National Guitar Flatpicking Championship and the World Mandolin Championship. Recently, O’Connor was voted one of the top five jazz violinists by New York jazz critics.

As part of the Gala, Beverley Taylor Sorenson and CCA students from each department in the college will be honored. Sorenson’s work focuses on reinvigorating arts education for elementary schools, specifically focusing on the higher education institutions preparing the teachers of tomorrow. Partnering with the CCA and the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services, Sorenson strives to ensure every child in Utah experiences the arts in their elementary school education.

Each department has selected three students as their Outstanding Seniors, those who have gone above and beyond the requirements. The Department of Music students are Bridger Burt, Daniel Tate and Shaundra Kaye Cragun. Students chosen from the Department of Art and Design are Erin Buynak, Sarah King and Jonathan Christensen. The Department of Theatre Arts outstanding seniors are Julienne Bailey, Liz Gabbitas and Timothy Roghaar.

“Our outstanding seniors represent the best of the best among our students at the Caine College of the Arts,” said Jessop. “We’re so honored to share with you their great success and the legacy of art that we are producing at Utah State University.”

Another part of the Gala will feature performances by various students and faculty members in the CCA, including the USU Scotsmen Pipe and Drum Corps, theater department students and touring group Out of the Blue, to name a few.

Tickets for the Grand Gala are $10 adults, $8 seniors and youth, $5 USU faculty and staff and free for USU students with ID. For more information and tickets, visit the CCA Box Office in room139-B of the Chase Fine Arts Center, call 435-797-8022 or online.

Related links:

Writer: Kara Rindlisbacher, 435-797-9203,

Contact: Denise Albiston, 435-797-1500,

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