By Jessica Braveman Columnist
String instruments are most often associated with Classical or Baroque music; elegant, sophisticated melodies played by clean cut musicians, in prestigious orchestras. However, the experience of listening to Mark Wood perform redefines the strings as pure rock instruments.
On Friday, March 28, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. at The Helene Fortunoff Theater in Monroe Hall, the musician performed alongside Hofstra music students, as well as students from high schools in the surrounding communities.
Wood is an international recording artist, Emmy-winning composer, inventor, producer and original founding member of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. He attended Juilliard School of Music, studied with Leonard Bernstein at the Tanglewood Music Program and spent 13 years with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. He created the first body electric violin in the early 1970s. Wood has worked alongside musicians like Billy Joel and Lenny Kravitz. And now he has performed beside our very own aspiring musicians on campus.
Wood came to Hofstra to speak with music education students before his performance that night. He provided them with insight and advice on teaching.
Senior Daniel Rivera, a music education major shared a piece of information he received during the workshop.
“Mark emphasized that being a musician is different than being a string player, band person or singer,” said Rivera. “In order to be a musician, you have to transcend what is written on the page and share your life and emotions to your audience.”
Later that night, Wood gave Hofstra students and high school students from Massapequa, Plainedge and Syosset the opportunity to play alongside him in the Electrify Your Strings with Mark Wood Concert. Music performed included “Eleanor Rigby” by Lennon/McCarthy, arranged by Wood; Wood’s “Bolero by Wood”; and “Hoedown” by Aaron Copland, arranged by Wood. The students appeared to be ecstatic to share the stage with Wood, and as they performed he moved around the stage in order to work with every student.
Wood also gave his own performance, playing electric violin alongside recorded tracks of classic rock artists, such as Led Zeppelin. His electric violin replaced the crazy riffs of the guitar, but provided the same intense sound. Wood impressed the audience, and engaged them in his performance. He allowed the audience to ask questions, and gave in depth answers that displayed an immense knowledge and passion for music. Following the event Wood expressed his own feelings of what it was like to work with the Hofstra students.
“The leadership of the students at Hofstra [was] outstanding,” said Wood. “I witnessed what it will take to bring our music programs into the 21st century. I had a fantastic time sharing my work with these wonderfully talented students. They exhibited bold and fearless playing while learning the new tools that we need to teach our future musicians and music teachers.”
One of the event organizers, senior music education major Tori Boretsky shared her thoughts on the event and what it was like to work with Mark Wood.
“Mark went above and beyond to ensure this event would be an entertaining learning experience. Throughout the workshop and concert, he consistently engaged the audience and responded to questions. It has been an incredible experience working with such a talented musician who has inspired me and all students who participated in this program,” said Boretsky.