Have you heard the Appalachia Waltz by Mark O’Connor? It’s a short, sweet, open-sounding piece of music. It’s been played by many different instruments, but the most famous version is with Mark O’Connor on the violin, Yo-Yo Ma on the cello, and Edgar Meyer playing bass.
The title mentions Appalachia, but the music was written out west (in Santa Fe in 1993). Mark O’Connor has lived and traveled all over the country, and his compositions incorporate many different styles of American music.
O’Connor recently used his Appalachia Waltz as the basis for his first symphony, which he calls the Americana Symphony (Variations on Appalachia Waltz). I recently got to interview O'Connor about this symphony.
First, I checked whether he pronounces Appalachia properly:
How do you pronounce Appalachia?
Then, we talked about writing his first symphony, musical journeys, teaching, and the changing relationship between musicians who play different styles of music. We also talked a bit about another new project—Sharon Isbin’s new recording of his Strings and Threads Suite.
Interview with Mark O'Connor