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The O’Connor String Quartet features: Mark O’Connor, violin, Kelly Hall-Tompkins, violin, Gillian Gallagher, viola, and Patrice Jackson, cello. (Special to the American Press)<br>

The O’Connor String Quartet features: Mark O’Connor, violin, Kelly Hall-Tompkins, violin, Gillian Gallagher, viola, and Patrice Jackson, cello. (Special to the American Press)

McNeese Banners series opens with O’Connor String Quartet

Last Modified: Thursday, February 21, 2013 11:24 AM

Special to the American Press

Grammy Award-winner Mark O’Connor and his String Quartet are ready to kick off the McNeese State University Banners Cultural Series at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23, in McNeese’s F.G. Bulber Auditorium.

Quartet members include: Mark O’Connor, violin; Kelly Hall-Tompkins, violin; Gillian Gallagher, viola; and Patrice Jackson, cello.

O’Connor is a multi Grammy Award-winning composer, violinist and fiddler and has sold 2 million CDs as a solo artist. He collaborated with Yo-Yo Ma and Edgar Meyer on “Appalachia Waltz,” and the works O’Connor composed for the disc, including its title track, gained him worldwide recognition as a leading proponent of a new American musical idiom. The tremendously successful follow-up release, “Appalachian Journey,” received a Grammy Award.

At age 13, he was the youngest person ever to win the Grand Master Fiddler Championships competing against all ages, amateur and professional. Thirty-seven years later, his record still stands. O’Connor is still the only person to ever win national titles (open to all ages) on fiddle, bluegrass guitar and mandolin and he won an unprecedented six Country Music Association Musician of the Year Awards in a row. He has played as a member of several bands — the David Grisman Quintet, The Dregs, Strength in Numbers, The American Music Shop house band and New Nashville Cats. He became the most in-demand session musician of any instrument and in any genre for a three-year period, appearing on more top 10 hits in the country, recording over 500 albums.

The O’Connor String Quartet is the first of 20 performances and lectures included in the 2013 Banners Series season. Performances will continue through May 4.

Tickets to individual performances will be available at the door at $20 for adults, $5 for students and free to McNeese and Sowela students with IDs. Lectures are free to the public. People can join by calling the Banners office at 337-475-5123 or visiting the Banners website at www.banners.org.

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