O'Connor Method Camp New York City ® 
Mark O'Connor
Maggie O'Connor
Sara Caswell
Daisy Jopling
Leonor Falcon
Kate Lee
Jennifer Ahn
Hilary Castle

Pamela Hamilton
Lev "Ljova" Zhurbin

Isabel Fairbanks
Patrice Jackson

Double Bass
Geoffrey Saunders

FACULTY - 2016

Sara Caswell is fast becoming one of today’s foremost jazz violinists through her technical facility and gift for lyricism. Recognized as a “Rising Star” in the DownBeat Magazine Critics and Readers Polls every year since 2013 and featured on the cover of Strings Magazine, Sara leads two groups (the Sara Caswell Quartet and the Caswell Sisters Quintet), has released two highly-acclaimed CDs (First Song and But Beautiful), and in 2013 released Alive in the Singing Air with her sister, jazz vocalist Rachel Caswell, featuring jazz pianist Fred Hersch. Sara regularly performs with clarinetist David Krakauer’s The Big Picture, mandolinist Joseph Brent’s 9 Horses, and jazz vocalist Roseanna Vitro's Quintet. She is a member of the house band for NBC's weekly variety show “Maya & Marty”, as well as the New York Pops Orchestra with whom she has been a featured soloist several times in Carnegie Hall. In addition to touring for two years with Esperanza Spalding, Sara has toured with Kishi Bashi, Mark O’Connor’s American String Celebration, and Darol Anger’s Four Generations of Jazz Violin. She has performed and/or recorded with such artists as Bruce Springsteen, Regina Carter, Jenny Scheinman, Gene Bertoncini, Alan Ferber, Fabian Almazan, Ike Sturm, Nadje Noordhuis, Lynne Arriale, Charlie Byrd, and Skitch Henderson. Currently on faculty at both the Berklee College of Music and Manhattan School of Music, Sara’s formidable teaching experience also includes the Mark O’Connor String Camps, the Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshops, the Indiana University String Academy, and a private studio. She has also given numerous jazz string improvisation workshops and masterclasses and is involved with JEN (Jazz Education Network), MENC (National Association of Music Education), and ASTA (American String Teachers Association). 

Teacher Training
Mark O'Connor

Orchestra Directors
Ulli Reiner
James Duncan (guest for one day)

Guitar and Mandolin
Joe Smart
Forrest O'Connor

*Faculty subject to change.

A New School of American String Playing - The American System and the "O'Connor Method." Solo books of sequenced tunes and exercises featuring technique, creativity, theory, improvisation and ear training. "America On Strings" is sequenced orchestrations designed for elementary, middle and high school level orchestras. The O'Connor Method includes musical literature that represents all of the Americas - Mexico, Canada and every region of the United States - and many musical styles - classical, folk, Latin, rock, ragtime, etc. Teacher Training takes place around the country.

Mr. O'Connor, a multi Grammy winning violinist and composer, has composed nine full length concertos that have received more performances than any other concertos composed in the last 50 years. His near iconic “Appalachia Waltz” is one of the most performed string pieces written since Barber's Adagio. 

Violinist and American fiddler Maggie O'Connor frequently performs with her husband, violinist and composer Mark O'Connor. Together they have appeared as guest soloists with the Singapore Chinese Orchestra, the Santa Rosa Symphony and many other symphony orchestras performing his composition "Strings and Threads Suite". The couple has performed violin duos around the world, including the Leopold Auer Music Academy in Hungary as well as the Berlin Konzerthaus centennial celebration of Yehudi Menuhin. Maggie is also a member of the O'Connor Band, performing on fiddle and vocals at places including IBMA and the Grand Ole Opry. The group has their first album titled "Coming Home" with Rounder Records and Concord Music Group released August 5, 2016. Along with performing, Maggie is also working as co-director at the O'Connor Method Camp NYC featuring the lesson book series that is rising in popularity each year. She is also featured on her and her husband's album "Duo." Maggie has Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Violin Performance from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University. 


James Duncan’s teaching experience ranges from The Elementary School of Performing Arts at PS 315 in Brooklyn, to the High School of the Arts in Brooklyn. Currently he holds the position of orchestra director at Murrow HS in Brooklyn. In addition to serving as a member of the Brooklyn philharmonic's education advisory panel, he has worked as a consultant and lead teacher for educators for the link up program at the Weil Music Institute, Carnegie Hall and is a member of the curriculum development committee for The Orchestra of St. Luke's.

Performing experience includes work with the Spirit Ensemble, the resident improv group at TC Columbia university from 2007-2013, summer improv camps at TC Columbia University, Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra, Brooklyn College Orchestra, Beethoven Festival Orchestra, Oakland California. Mr. Duncan earned a BA from Jersey City State College (New Jersey City University) 1988 and a MA in Music Education from Brooklyn College in 2003.

Pam currently is on the teaching staff with the Middle School Jazz Academy of Jazz At Lincoln Center, as well as the Strings Specialist for Harlem Children's Zone's Promise Academy in NYC. She has been a performing artist for over 40 years and has received certification in the O'Connor String Method as well as a Professional Diploma from The New School/Mannes College.


National award winning guitarist and fiddler Joe Smart is a multi-faceted instrumentalist with a Master Guitar Certificate from Berklee College of Music. He has recorded on and produced numerous albums ranging from bluegrass, folk, Norteño, jazz, country, pop, and rock. In addition to performing in several countries, with multiple groups, as well as with iconic musicians such as Mark O’Connor, Brad Davis, Barbara Lamb, and Los Canarios De Michoacán, he has an extensive background in teaching and championing music education. Joe has taught for nearly 20 years in private lessons and at string camps such as the Northwest Strings Camp, Booher Music Camp, and the Murphy Method Jam Camp and recently became a certified O’Connor Method teacher. Joe also performs with the O'Connor Band.

Cellist Isabel Fairbanks is active in New York City as a soloist, chamber musician, orchestral musician, and teacher at Turtle Bay Music School. She has degrees in cello performance from the Manhattan School of Music and Boston University, Her primary teachers include David Geber, David Soyer, Mary Lou Rylands, George Neikrug, and Andres Diaz. Ms. Fairbanks has performed in recitals and concerts throughout the United States, Canada, South America, and China. Festival appearances include the Banff, Roundtop, Tanglewood, Bowdoin, and the Orpheus Institute. Additionally she was chosen to play in the Chinese Friendship Summit at the United Nations. Ms. Fairbanks performs with the Circe Duo, Salome Chamber Orchestra, the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas and has performed in concerts at Avery Fisher Hall, Carnegie Hall and the Baryshnikov Performing Arts Center.

Cellist Patrice Jackson is carving a name for herself as a gifted and charismatic young soloist. The Detroit News has described her as a “big-toned, boldly projected soloist. ” She has performed with the Atlanta, Detroit, Dallas, New Jersey, Milwaukee, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Nashville, Colorado and Mississippi Symphonies, as well as with the Philadelphia Orchestra. In 2002 Ms. Jackson was awarded first place in the Senior Laureate Division of the Sphinx Competition, and was the recipient of the 2002 Yale University Aldo Parisot Prize. She has won numerous competitions and awards including the Alton Symphony Orchestra / Merie Stillwell Solo Competition and the Laclede String Quartet Solo Competition. Ms. Jackson is a graduate of the Juilliard School in New York and the Yale School of Music in New Haven and currently teaches at the Berklee College of Music.
LJOVA (Lev Zhurbin)​

Hailed by the New York Times as “dizzyingly versatile… an eclectic with an ear for texture… strikingly original and soulful”, LJOVA (Lev Zhurbin) divides his time between composing for the concert stage, contemporary dance & film, leading his own ensemble Ljova and the Kontraband, as well as a busy career as a freelance violist, violinist & musical arranger. Ljova is the author of more than 70 compositions for classical, jazz, and folk ensembles, as well as scores to four feature and over a dozen short films. Ljova released his acclaimed solo debut recording, Vjola: World On Four Strings, on Kapustnik Records, in 2006. Previously, he has recorded with Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble on the bestselling Sony Classical CD “Silk Road Journeys: Beyond the Horizon”, and with The Andalucian Dogs on the Deutsche Grammophon CD “Ayre”, featuring the music of Luciano Berio and Osvaldo Golijov. (Both CDs were nominated for several Grammy awards.) Ljova has taught as guest faculty at The Banff Centre in Canada focusing equally on composition, arranging, and viola performance. Ljova is on the viola & chamber music faculty of the Special Music School in New York City.


Classical/rock violinist Daisy Jopling was born in London, and now lives in NY. She has toured the world with her own band, the Daisy Jopling band, and with the creative string trio “Triology”. She has recorded 7 CDS, 2 with BMG RCA Victor.
Her Solo work has included playing a concerto at the Royal Albert Hall in London at the age of 14, playing before 30,000 people at the opening of the Vienna Festival in May 2004 and 2005, and touring with her band to 23 stunning concert halls in China in 2015. Her DJ Band tours in the 2016/17 season include Norway, Austria, Slovenia, England, China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Mexico and the US.
Since living in NY Daisy has become passionate about music education, and invites young talent to perform in fundraisers her Foundation produces in NY which support music education programs. 
She is thrilled to be teaching at the O’Connor Method Camp NYC! 


Ulli Reiner, a Grammy Education Award semi finalist for 2016, is an adjunct faculty member of Palomar College, Concertmaster of the Palomar College Symphony Orchestra, Applied Music Instructor of Violin and Viola Studies; Concertmaster of the Poway Symphony Orchestra and Founder and Orchestra Manager;  Concertmaster of the Poway Symphonette and Conductor/Founder and soloist. She is also the Orchestra Director for the Poway Unified School District since 1983. Ms. Reiner’s ensembles receive invitations to perform in festivals around the world. 
As a music educator, Ms. Reiner shares her love of music with young people as the Orchestra Director with the Bernardo Heights and Twin Peaks Middle Schools in the Poway Unified School District. In addition to her instrumental students, she teaches music appreciation to non-music students. She co-founded the Youth Philharmonic Orchestra of San Diego and is the Artistic Director of the Youth Philharmonic Orchestra’s String School and Adult Music School. Appointed in 2011, Ms. Reiner conducts the San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory’s Symphonic Strings Orchestra. She is currently working with American composer and violinist, Mark O’Connor, is certified in Books I & II of the O'Connor Method and will be teaching at his 2016 O'Connor Method Camp NYC.


Kate Lee's passion and dedication has afforded her great respect in the music community as a vocalist, instrumentalist, and songwriter. Whether performing her original material or backing up a major entertainer, Lee brings a wealth of stylistic understanding and a unique, discerning sense of phrasing to both the stage and studio. She is an energetic young woman with extensive musical scholarship and experience. Along with her recording projects with Wisewater and the O'Connor Family Band, she also has recorded several solo albums, the most recent of which was produced by Kris Wilkinson and featured some of Nashville’s top session musicians, including Bryan Sutton, Viktor Krauss, John Gardner, Gary Prim, and Tim Lauer. She has played violin and sung background vocals for many world-class entertainers, including Rod Stewart, Keith Urban, Kelly Clarkson, Vince Gill, Sugarland, Amy Grant, Trace Adkins, Lady Antebellum, Jake Owen, Mary J. Blige, Darius Rucker, Rascal Flatts, Lucy Hale, Little Big Town, Katherine Jenkins, Idina Menzel, Martina McBride, Brad Paisley, LeeAnn Rimes, Alan Jackson, Sara Evans, Carrie Underwood, Lauren Alaina, Scotty McCreery, Dan and Shay, Michael W. Smith, Mark O'Connor, Mary Gauthier, Kathy Mattea, Alison Brown, John Cowan, Claire Lynch, and Emmylou Harris.​ She currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee and is a founding member of the Americana duo Wisewater along with Forrest O’Connor, and is a member of the O'Connor Band.


A native of Venezuela, violinist Leonor Falcon has a very diverse background in performing music of different genres. As a classical musician, she has appeared as a soloist with Virtousi de Caracas, as a chamber musician both in Venezuela and Switzerland with different groups, and also back home she was part of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Venezuela and founder of the Magical Mystery Band, with which she played Beatles arrangements all over the country and in Argentina, United Kingdom and Curacao at different festivals. In Switzerland, she was a co-founder of the chamber orchestra Camerata Candela that focused on Latin American contemporary repertoire and folk music.
She holds a Bachelor of Music degree from IUDEM (University of Music of Venezuela), studied under Virginie Roibilliard at Mozarteum de Caracas and holds a Master of Music degree from the Conservatory of Geneva, Switzerland and a Master of Jazz performance degree from Queens College in New York city.
Leonor spends her time teaching at the MindBuilders Creative ArtsCenter in the Bronx and performing around the city with different projects which include latin american, classical, jazz and original music. 

Geoffrey Saunders, originally from Hartford, CT, is a versatile performer who is experienced in a range of styles and genres. Geoff has received degrees from the Eastman School of Music (BM, Jazz Bass Performance) and the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami (MM, Jazz Pedagogy). He is currently pursuing his DMA in Jazz Studies at the Frost School, where he is a Teaching Assistant and member of the award-winning Concert Jazz Band. Also at Frost, Geoff is a fellow at the Henry Mancini Institute where he has worked closely and performed with such notable artists as Chick Corea, Bobby McFerrin, Gloria Estefan, Steve Miller, Larry Rosen, Phil Ramone, Dave Grusin, Terence Blanchard, and Mark O’Connor. He is currently on tour with the O'Connor Band and has served as faculty member at the Mark O’Connor/Berklee Summer String Program. Geoff is an active freelance bass player in Miami and is a founding member of the folk/pop group The Wynwoods who are set to release their debut EP this fall. ​


Nashville-born singer-songwriter, guitarist, and mandolinist Forrest O’Connor has performed and recorded with a wide range of artists, including Kenny Loggins, Sam Bush, John Cowan, Alison Brown, Melissa Ferrick, Carl Jackson, and his dad, fiddler Mark O'Connor. A former Tennessee state mandolin champion, O’Connor has embarked on numerous national tours over the last several years with the critically acclaimed Appalachian Christmas program as well as with his own duo, Wisewater, featuring vocalist and fiddler Kate Lee.
O’Connor and Lee have recently teamed up with Mark and Maggie O’Connor to form the O’Connor Band, which is set to record its first full-length album in spring 2016. The Family Band also features Joe Smart on guitar/vocals and Geoff Saunders on bass, banjo, and vocals. O’Connor graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in Sociomusicology from Harvard University. He is also a co-founder of the music webcasting company Concert Window, Inc., which has developed into one of the leading webcasting platforms for musicians and has been featured on TED as well as in The Examiner, TechCrunch, The Boston Herald, Complex, Evolver.fm, and BostInnovation.

Violinist Hilary Castle maintains an active schedule as a soloist, ensemble musician and teacher. Most recently, Hilary made her Broadway debut on stage as the fiddle understudy in “Bright Star”, a musical by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell. She has performed with a wide range of ensembles and artists, including the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, American violinist and composer Mark O'Connor, Steve Martin in "Bright Star", Neil Finn, Tamara Gverdtsiteli, Thalia, Danish singer/songwriter Oh Land and Bonobo. Hilary holds a B.M. from Boston University’s College of Fine Arts where she studied with Peter Zazofsky, and a M.M. and a P.S.D. from Mannes College of Music where she studied with Hiroko Yajima, Lucie Robert and Laurie Smukler. Hilary is a founding member of Silver Birch Music, a music collaborative based in New York City, dedicated to preserving the value of classical music performance and education through a diverse performance series and music school. In addition to running her own teaching studio, Hilary is on faculty at Turtle Bay Music School in New York City. Hilary plays an 1815 Giovanni Baptista Ceruti violin, on loan from a generous benefactor. www.hilarycastle.com

Canadian born violinist Jennifer Ahn leads an active career teaching and performing in the New York City area. She received a Masters of Music and Artist Diploma from Yale University as a full scholarship recipient under the tutelage of Syoko Aki. An avid orchestral musician, she has served as Concertmaster with the New England Chamber Orchestra, Colorado Summer Music Festival, New York Asian Symphony Orchestra and the Pacific Music Festival in Japan. She has held the Concertmaster position of the Orchestra at Shelter Rock since 2011. She is a former member of the Chicago Civic Orchestra and New Haven Symphony and an alumnus of Spoleto, Music Academy of the West, Shlezwig-Holstein Musik Festival, Cassalmaggiore Festival and Scotiafest and currently plays regularly with the Chamber Orchestra of New York, the Chelsea Symphony, DCINY and NESE. Recent notable collaborations include instrumental work on an album produced by Coldplay guitarist Guy Berryman as well as performances with Frank Ocean, M83 and Nick Jonas.