O'CONNOR METHOD CAMP NEW YORK CITY
O'Connor Method Camp New York City ®
In November 2002, Jonathan Cooper, a well-respected violin maker from Maine, had a wonderful idea for honoring Daniel Pearl, the violinist, fiddler and Wall Street Journal reporter who was murdered in Pakistan earlier that year. To continue Daniel’s legacy through a musical mission of peace, Jon crafted a work of art, the Daniel Pearl Memorial Violin, and presented it to composer and violinist Mark O'Connor at a Boston concert in honor of Daniel. From that initial inspiration, the array of Daniel Pearl Memorial Instruments grew, eventually becoming a quartet of uniquely beautiful stringed instruments dedicated to Danny’s memory. Two violins crafted by Cooper, as well as a cello and a viola, are now presented each year to promising young musicians by Mark O’Connor.
At the O’Connor Method Camp New York City, exceptional string students are awarded the honor to play these instruments for a year. "By passing the instruments through so many hands and playing past musical borders, we hope that the beautiful sound of these violins will help inspire listeners to live in harmony, on a peaceful planet.” –Jon Cooper.
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Left to right: 2014 recipients Minnie Jordan, Ella Jordan, and Mary Kate English along with guest Joy Adams on cello perform an emotional "Appalachia Waltz" by Mark O'Connor before passing along the instruments to the new 2015 recipients.
"Using journalism as their voice, Daniel Pearl and his wife, Mariane, hoped to expose truth to the world and challenge people’s perspectives. Mariane writes, 'We believed ordinary people like us could change the world by changing the way people think about each other'. For me, music is my opportunity to change the world. What better way to change peoples’ perspectives than through something as unifying and powerful as music? Music has changed my life and brought me clarity and understanding. I feel as though I can move mountains with the gift of music. With this beautiful Cooper violin, I hope to spread messages of love, peace, and the quest to create a better world—as Daniel Pearl would have wanted."--Katherine Evans
Katherine Evans is a 20-year-old singer/songwriter from Westchester, NY. She found her passion for music at an early age—learning the violin when she was just 3 years old. At the age of 14, Katherine began writing songs and learning piano and guitar.
After her first year in the Frost School of Music, Katherine switched to the Bruce Hornsby Creative American Music songwriting program, as her first love was song-writing. At this time, Katherine uncovered a deep passion for folk music after taking an Anglo-American songwriting class taught by Carlos Rivera. She joined a band called Big City Folk Band who got a chance to meet Mark and Maggie O’Connor and play for them on campus, which led to her participation in the O’Connor Method Camp NYC. The camp was a wonderful experience that allowed her to connect with and be inspired by so many musicians. This past summer, Katherine was Artist of the Month at The Bitter End in July and played at numerous venues in the city such as Rockwood Music Hall, Caffe Vivaldi, and The Bowery Electric. She is incredibly excited to enter her junior year at University of Miami and continue her musical pursuits. For more, visit katherineanneevans.com.
Hana Morford is a musician and educator dedicated to empowering youth through the creative arts. Currently the Teaching and Learning Specialist of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s OrchKids program, she teaches string classes and oversees educational programming to over 1,000 at-risk youth. Hana is also a faculty member at the Peabody Preparatory, where she conducts the Preparatory String Ensemble. As a creative workshop leader, she is passionate about using musical composition to promote youth ownership and connection, and has collaborated with organizations including Creative Connections, the Orchestra of St. Luke's YOSL program, and the New England Conservatory. Hana’s former experiences include serving as Education Director of the Greater Baltimore Youth Orchestras’ Bridges program (a large urban strings initiative), as well as managing the Baltimore Symphony’s Academy programs for adult amateur musicians. She holds degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music, Rice University, the Peabody Conservatory and the New England Conservatory’s Sistema Fellows program. Hana is a certified teacher in O'Connor Method Books I & II.
Hana is extremely honored by the opportunity to play on the Daniel Pearl Memorial Viola, feeling a deep connection to Daniel’s mission of cross-cultural understanding and commitment to connecting diverse communities through music. She hopes that the music made on the viola in Baltimore this year can pay but small homage to the powerful message for which Daniel stood.
Ronan Brown is 13 years old from Seattle Washington. He has been playing violin since he was 5 and has loved it ever since. His first teacher was Leah Hoffman, and currently Ronan has graduated to study in Margaret Pressley's studio. In 7th grade, Ronan was concert master in the Washington Middle School Senior Orchestra and the Senior Fiddlers Group, led by another one of his mentors Elizabeth Fortune.
In October 2015, Ronan's orchestra had the opportunity to play with Mark and Maggie O’Connor at the Wintergrass festival, where they performed Mr. O’Connor's composition Strings and Threads Suite. After the performance, Ronan learned about the O’Connor Method Camp in NYC and enthusiastically signed up. Ronan remarks on the NYC Camp:
"Camp – It was amazing! I loved it so much. The teachers were so good at connecting with all the students, and helping them all along at their own pace. There were many highlights for me, but the two main ones were:
On a lunch break, Mark O'Connor came up to me to show me some variations on a piece. I grabbed my violin so I could play with him. Then we both started playing the Strings and Threads Suite together, and Mr. O'Connor and I were bouncing our licks and patterns off of each other as we played.
Another amazing highlight for me was receiving the Daniel Pearl violin. I was stunned, and couldn’t believe that I had been entrusted with an instrument that meant so much for music, peace, and tolerance around the world. Soon after camp concluded I got a chance to meet with Jonathan Cooper, who made the Pearl violins. He inspired me when he told me why he made the violins, and how many hands the violin has been in. I am excited about the number of ways I can work with the Pearl Foundation and Daniel’s family this coming year to share their vision of spreading peace and harmony through music." --Ronan Brown
Jonathan Cooper at his shop in Portland, ME
Jonathan Cooper - Daniel Pearl Memorial Instruments
Congratulations to the new 2016 recipients Jafre Chase of Baltimore (age 15, viola), Joshua Wang of New York (age 12, violin), and Angelo Chery of New York (age 15, violin) for being awarded the Daniel Pearl memorial instruments for a year! See them pictured above with Mark O'Connor and the 2015 recipients Katherine Evans and Ronan Brown. More info coming soon...