All aboard the Trans-Siberian Express string section!
Violinist Mark Wood — a member of Trans-Siberian Orchestra for 13 years who also has worked with Celine Dion, Billy Joel, Lenny Kravitz (among others), and an Emmy award-winning composer — will join area high school string players for a one-of-a-kind concert that will benefit school music programs facing severe budget cuts. This rare event took place Friday, September 24 at 7:00 p.m. at The History Theater auditorium at McNally Smith College of Music.
Vega Productions collected the suggested $10 ticket price to benefit participating area school music programs. The eclectic violinist who studied under Leonard Bernstein and who a fellow violinist calls “The future of violins” performed in concert with string music students from Minneapolis South High, Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists, Main Street School for Performing Arts, and Coon Rapids High School.
The award-winning composer, international recording artist, and electric violinist, is widely acknowledged as the premier electric rock violinist of his generation. Mark studied under maestro Leonard Bernstein at Tanglewood and attended the Juilliard School of Music on full scholarship, leaving to pursue his vision of bringing rock violin into the mainstream.
In early 2008, Mark was elected to serve on the board of the prestigious American String Teacher Association (ASTA) and continues to bring his knowledge and expertise in the field of progressive string education to a much wider audience in the US. As educators across the country quickly catch on to the importance of incorporating “American styles” teaching methods into their curriculum, Mark’s “Electrify Your Strings!” (EYS) series of music education programs have become enormously successful and in demand.
In 2008 alone, EYS reached more than 30,000 string students. With the release of Mark’s first method book, aptly entitled Electrify Your Strings (published by Cherry Lane and distributed by Hal Leonard), Mark’s methods are now accessible to the general public.
As a member of Trans-Siberian Orchestra for 13 years, receiving two platinum and three gold records, Mark went on to record his first album release, Voodoo Violince. That record remains widely hailed as the quintessential rock violin album. He has also toured and performed with Billy Joel, Celine Dion, Dee Snider’s Van Helsing’s Curse, Lenny Kravitz, Steve Vai, Roger Daltry of the Who and Jewel.
Of late, he’s been a featured guest on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and has had articles written about him in The New York Times, USA Today, Time Magazine and others. Arnold Steinhardt of the Guarnari String Quartet said in his new book, Violin Dreams, that “…Mark Wood is the future of violins.”
Other achievements include:
- Mark won an Emmy award for music he composed for the Tour De France bike race on CBS-TV and has received three additional Emmy nominations for a variety of film and television projects, most notably for the music for the 1999 Winter Olympics opening show.
- As an inventor, Mark established Wood Violins, a company whose mission is to make Mark’s incredible instruments available to the general public.
- Mark was a featured performer with rock icon Billy Joel for the historic “Last Play at Shea” concerts at New York’s famed Shea Stadium in July 2008.
- Mark is currently starring in a national TV ad campaign for Pepsi. The music track is a Kanye West-produced hip hop version of “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” (featuring the rapper Nas).
Mark Wood has several websites, including
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