North Carolina

July 29- Aug. 2, 2019
(Orientation July 28)

Daniel Pearl Memorial Instruments Award
In 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. As one of Daniel’s musical mentors, Mark O’Connor was invited by the family and friends of Daniel Pearl to perform at his memorial service in Boston, November, 2002. Jon contacted Mark to help him present the beautiful violin to the Pearl family at this memorial for Daniel. One year later, the Pearl family gifted the violin to Mark and his string camps in order for deserving students to have the opportunity to practice and perform on such a valuable instrument with the monetary value of $20,000 to $30,000. A tradition was established at O’Connor String Camps, that the violin in Daniel’s name, would rotate through the student body in perpetuity. From that initial inspiration, and through the help of more private commissions, 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 String Camp, exceptional string students are awarded the honor to play these instruments for a year, and are also given a scholarship to return to camp the next year and continue the tradition. 

"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.
Daniel Pearl Memorial Instruments
2017 recipients Croft Stone, Jodie Stone, and Hannah Klinghoffer! These deserving students will play these beautiful instruments for a year and attend to the Charlotte, N.C. Camp to continue the tradition, performing Mr. O'Connor's "Appalachia Waltz" for the ceremony at the Student Electives Concert! They are pictured here with the 2016 recipients Angelo Chery, Joshua Wang, and Jafre Chase, along with Mark O'Connor at the previous camp in New York City.

2017 Recipients

Hannah Klinghoffer - violin
Hannah Klinghoffer is 15 years old and from Seattle, Washington. She started playing violin at the age of 8, playing strictly classical music. It wasn’t until she began studying under Ben Hunter that she was introduced to the fiddle side of the violin. With Mr. Hunter, Hannah performed in the Northwest Folklife Festival for the first time when she was 9 years old, and fell in love with that style of music. She has come back each year to perform in the festival. Hannah also plays in the symphony at her school, Ingraham High School, under the direction of Heidi Oveson.    

In 2015, Hannah had the opportunity to join the youth orchestra at the Wintergrass music festival. During the festival, the students in the orchestra played with many artists, including Mark and Maggie O’Connor. Hannah found out about the O’Connor method camp in NYC and after listening to Mark and Maggie O’Connor perform, she knew that she wanted to play more of that genre of music.

“Attending the O’Connor method camp in NYC is an experience that I will never forget. It is such an honor to be surrounded by incredible musicians who inspire you to work harder on your music. One of the highlights for me was during my first year at the camp when I was working on a duet with Angelo Chery, and Maggie O’Connor came in to help us perfect the duet before we performed. The following summer I came back to camp and was awarded the Daniel Pearl violin. I’m so honored to be able to play this violin, that has already been played by so many outstanding musicians, for the next year and I’m overcome with joy every time I take it out of the case. The violin has an amazing sound and it inspires me to practice more and share with others the story of Daniel Pearl. Through the coming year I hope to spread Daniel Pearl’s message and make the most out of the time I have with the violin.” - Hannah Klinghoffer

Croft (Didi) Stone - viola
Croft (Didi) Stone is currently a 6th Grade student at Rising Starr Middle School in Fayetteville, GA and is 12 years old. He began playing the violin at the age of 5 and the viola at age 8. Throughout his years of learning the violin, he has been performing with the Fayette County Fiddlers in multiple local events and concerts. He has also been the principal violist of a community orchestra, Fortissimo String Orchestra and a member of a youth quartet, "Quartet le Petit" along with his sister, Jodie Stone.
Didi has participated in different music camps over the years. The O'Connor music camp has always been his favorite. The fellowship, rigor, and fun of the camp, including the inspiring musicians, have helped him grow as a violinist and violist over the past few years. Winning the Daniel Pearl Viola has been an amazing validation to his hard work and dedication to his violin and viola playing. Since winning the Daniel Pearl Viola , Didi has become the principal violist at his middle school, performed with the All County Orchestra as a violinist, and performed with the Emory Junior Chamber Orchestra as a violist. He will also be performing as a violist with the Georgia All State Orchestra in March, 2018.

"Playing the Daniel Pearl Viola helped me realize my potential in becoming a good violist. It has a tone that is hard to reproduce on any other instrument, and is such an improvement on my last viola. It is so loud, clear, and has opened up my sound tremendously. Since having this instrument, I have gotten so much better at viola that I cannot believe. When I was selected as the Daniel Pearl Viola winner, I was in shock. It was a huge honor accepting the viola from Jafre, who is an exceptional violist. I had dreamed about the day I would get a Daniel Pearl Memorial instrument since I saw Joshua get the Daniel Pearl Violin the year before, and when I got the viola, it was truly a dream come true! I am able to make a great sound on this viola, and I will continue to improve as a violist. Thank you Mark O Connor for allowing me to have this instrument for a year." - Croft (Didi) Stone

Jodie Stone - violin
Jodie Stone is currently an 8th Grade student at Rising Starr Middle School in Fayetteville, GA and is 13 years old. She began playing the violin at the age of 5 and the viola at age 10. Along with her brother, Didi Stone, she has been performing with the Fayette County Fiddlers in multiple local events and concerts. She has also been the principal violinist of a community orchestra, Fortissimo String Orchestra and a member of a youth quartet, "Quartet le Petit" along with her brother, Didi Stone.    

The first year of participating in the O'Connor music camp was one of the biggest turning points of Jodie's musical experience. She could not stop talking about how much it has helped her realize she loves playing the violin. She looked forward to listening to, learning, playing, and performing alongside world class teachers and musicians during the camp. Winning the Daniel Pearl Violin raised this experience of awe with the camp even higher than she could imagine. Since then, Jodie has become the principal violinist of her middle school orchestra, auditioned into the Emory Junior Chamber Orchestra (currently the principal 2nd violin), and performed with the All County Orchestra. She will also be performing with the Georgia All State Orchestra in March 2018.

"Playing with the Daniel Pearl Violin was an amazing experience. It was the first time I realized I have the potential of making sounds beyond my expectations. It helped me understand the subtleties of performing and playing and inspired me to improve and grow as a musician. I always understood that I have to practice to get better and play a certain way to sound good, but I never realized how big a difference an instrument can make. Receiving the Daniel Pearl Violin is an honor and a boost of confidence that allows me to scratch the surface of what it means to be a musician. Practicing and performing with the Daniel Pearl Violin has helped me getting into Georgia All State Orchestra and Emory Junior Chamber Orchestra. I am so humbled by this opportunity and look forward to what violin playing will bring." - Jodie Stone

Daniel Pearl Memorial Cello
We are thrilled to share with you that we will be awarding the Daniel Pearl Memorial Cello at the 2018 camp! This gorgeous instrument has been with the maker Jon Cooper, but is now ready for the next lucky student at the 2018 camp. Here is a photo of Mark O'Connor with the cello from a feature article in the Charlotte Observer. This cello was made in 2010, read more about previous cello recipients here .    

The last recipient of the cello was Duncan Hall in 2012:
"Part of my great love for the cello stems from how it so naturally serves as an extension of the human voice, and through that, the soul. I believe the music that means the most in this world touches something much deeper than just the ear or the mind, and allows a musician to create a connection of the heart with their listeners. That is what I look for in my playing, and I think it strongly resonates with the Daniel Pearl Foundation's grand vision of a world united by music. I feel so privileged to join with the Daniel Pearl Foundation in their mission through this unique instrument." - Duncan Hall

Read about recipients from the NYC Camp from 2015-2016:

2015-2016 NYC Camp Recipients