Strings for Newtown Memorial ConcertThis historic concert featuring most of the icons of the creative fiddle world kicked off 30 concerts nationwide to shine love and light on Newtown at the one-year anniversary of the shooting and to support kindness education. The local concert raised money for the local arts-oriented organization, HealingNewtown.

Mark O’Connor, Jay Ungar and Molly Mason, Bruce Molsky, Laraaji Venus, Donna Hebert and Mist Covered Mountains, The Norwalk Youth Symphony under the direction of Richard Brooks, Julie Lyonn Lieberman, and Jim Andrews on bass.

Artist Bio’s

MOCMark O’Connor is a multi-Grammy winning American jazz, folk, classical violinist/composer and author. His orchestral works have received over 500 performances around the country, and his “Appalachia Waltz” is one of the most loved string pieces since Barber’s “Adagio. O’Connor is also an eloquent spokesman for the role of the arts in society and the evolution of American music. The O’Connor Method – A New American School of string playing has joined the Suzuki method as the most popular method to learn from around the world as students respond to the cultural proximity of the American musical material featured in the Method. In June 2013, O’Connor released “The Improvised Violin Concerto” on DVD/CD, featuring his first full, improvised violin concerto and his triple concerto, “March of the Gypsy Fiddler”

— Back to the top

Jay Ungar and Molly MasonJay Ungar & Molly Mason have become one of the most celebrated duos in the American acoustic music scene. Their consummate musicianship, incomparable warmth and wit, and obvious love of the music have delighted audiences worldwide. You may know them from A Prairie Home Companion, from their own public radio program Dancing on the Airon WAMC’s Northeast Network, or from film soundtracks such as Legends of the Fall and Brother’s Keeper. Millions were entranced by the music they did for Ken Burns’ PBS documentary The Civil War. Their performance of the series’ signature tune, Jay’s haunting composition Ashokan Farewell, earned the couple international acclaim. The soundtrack won a Grammy and Ashokan Farewell was nominated for an Emmy.

molsky.insideBruce Molsky is “one of America’s premier fiddling talents” (Mother Jones) and a twice-GRAMMY nominated artist. The first permanent visiting professor in Berklee College of Music’s ‘American Roots Program’, Bruce is the go-to guy for the next generation of fiddlers. On the road 250 days a year, Bruce tours the world solo and with super groups Mozaik, The Jumpsteady Boys, The Old-Time Kozmik Trio, and as a trio with Aly Bain and Ale Möller. Bruce’s latest solo album, If It Ain’t Here When I Get Back, was released in the spring of 2013. No Depression called it “an album from an absolute master.”

In addition to a prolific solo career, performing on fiddle, guitar, and banjo, Molsky frequently joins genre-busting supergroups, like the Grammy-nominated Fiddlers Four, and Mozaik, with Hungarian Nikola Parov, and Celtic giant Donal Lunny. He was on Nickel Creek’s farewell tour, and performs in a trio with Scottish fiddler Aly Bain and Sweden’s great Ale Moller.

“Playing in these kinds of groups is an important part of what I do,” Molsky says. “Regionalism was one of the hallmarks of traditional music in the old days; now we’re in the Information Age, and I don’t think that’s what folk music does anymore. But the more cultures I discover, the more I realize that folk music performs the same function for everybody; and therefore is the same thing everywhere – just spoken with different accents.”

— Back to the top

Laraaji VenusLaraaji Venus Nadabrahmananda has performed in USA and abroad since late 1970’s with his innovative style of electric open tuned zither/harp. After studying piano, music theory & composition at Howard University School of Fine Arts in Washington , DC during the mid nineteen-sixties he became inspired to move to New York city to follow his passion for both musical sound composition and comedy acting. After mild success in theatre, film, TV commercials and night club performance he investigated eastern philosophy, meditation and meta-physics, an investigation which initiated his creative expression into cosmic themes and vibrant new musical tone language .

From Busking in New York City during the late 1970’s into early 1980’s, to performing improvisational compositions on concert stage, to collaborations within interdisciplinary artist events, to Spirit Festivals, to Yoga Expos and to many recording sessions he has brought an inspiring non-traditional Zither musical sound that has captivated a peaceful global following.
— Back to the top

Donna HebertFranco-American fiddler, singer, composer and educator Donna Hébert is a bona-fide cultural treasure. Named a state Artist’s Fellow in the Folk Arts, with two original songs included on Smithsonian anthologies, Donna also won eight appointments as a master-teacher in Franco-American fiddling through the National Endowment’s Master-Apprenticeship program.

A member of the new all-fiddle Panache Quartet  and the Celtic ensemble Mist Covered Mountains, Donna also performs with guitarist Max Cohen and directs children’s performances with Groovemama at Old Songs and Philadelphia Folk Festivals every year.

An expert on multiple fiddle styles, Donna’s “Fiddling Demystified for Strings” is an “encyclopedia of fiddling” (Darol Anger, Berklee professor) and “should be required reading for all string teachers hoping to branch out into fiddling.” (Laura Risk, Strings Magazine). Donna teaches fiddle at Smith and Amherst Colleges in western Mass.

— Back to the top

Richard Brooks and NSYORichard Brooks has been conducting professionally for over 30 years. He began his music education with violin lessons at the age of 8 and graduated from Western Connecticut State University with a degree in Violin Performance. Mr. Brooks was Music Director of the Danbury Community Orchestra from 1981-2001 and was named Music Director of the Cheshire Symphony Orchestra in 1987, a position he still retains.

Mr. Brooks’ guest conducting credits include the All-Putnam County and the All- Westchester County Orchestras in New York, the Fairfield County String Festival, The CMEA All-Eastern Middle School Orchestra, The Charles Ives Center’s 1999 Young Peoples Concert with the Jupiter Symphony Strings, and the Danbury Symphony.

JulieLyonnLiebermanCroppedThumbJulie Lyonn Lieberman is an eclectic styles violinist, vocalist, author, composer, and producer. She lives in Newtown.



— Back to the top