What is musician Mark O’Connor doing now?
—Bill J., Rhode Island
“Last year began with the release of In Full Swing, my Sony jazz CD, and a 30-city tour with my Hot Swing Trio,” says O’Connor, 42. “I composed three classical pieces last year: a violin concerto for the Academy of St. Martin In the Fields; a second piece dedicated to the fallen soldiers in the Iraq war; and a third for the Eroica Piano Trio, inspired by Johnny Cash, my boyhood hero.” While O’Connor has mastered virtually every style of music, these days he mostly performs his style of American classical music, jazz and folk. He’s celebrating his 30th year as a recording artist with the release of Mark O’Connor Thirty-Year Retrospective, a double CD. “Musicians like Chris Thile of Nickel Creek help me recreate some of my best music I have recorded over these 30 years,” O’Connor says of the CD. He spent part of last summer working with about 400 students at his music camps in Tennessee and California, which he has offered for the last decade. “When I’m not performing or composing, my music friends can find me hanging out with my family in sunny San Diego, spending time around our pool, and enjoying life with my wife, Carla, and our two boys, Forrest, 15, and Gage, 12. And one of my favorite treasures is our grove of 75 avocado trees. The fresh guacamole never stops! It’s nice to have this balance with my time in concert halls, recording studios and airports.”