The Return of the Violin Virtuoso

By Ashqul Islam

Mark Wood is back with his band to bring another explosive concert to the Brooklyn Tech audience.

Wood is a violinist, best known for his work as a former member of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. He is also an Emmy-winning composer, who now tours the nation, performing with school orchestras through the Electrify Your Strings program.

Electrify Your Strings is an educational program that Wood created to promote musical education in the community. He brings the program to schools throughout the United States. According to his website, he visits about 60 schools every year.

Along with his program, Wood founded his own company, Wood Violins. The company makes special electric violins and cellos. The instruments are dubbed “Viper” and “Cobra” respectively.

The orchestras spend months working hard and learning their set by heart. Then, the entire orchestra plays an extraordinary concert with Wood and his band.

Tech’s orchestra had the chance to perform with Wood and five other schools in the Five Borough Youth Rock Symphony last year, which was held in the Brooklyn Tech Auditorium.

“[Wood] was looking on Youtube and he was listening to a piece from the Trans-Siberian Orchestra played by Brooklyn Tech in the winter concert last year. And then he contacted me by email and then by phone and then he showed up here,” said Ms. Geraldine Lapierre, an orchestra teacher.

Wood doesn’t play a typical orchestra concert. Instead, he adds a modern twist to classical pieces. Along with that, he does orchestral remakes of famous rock songs, such as “Eleanor Rigby,” originally performed by The Beatles.

Ms. Lapierre said, “I think that [students] are going to enjoy Crazy Train if they like Black Sabbath. The other pieces are mainly Trans-Siberian but there’s ‘Carol of The Bells.’ Everyone knows that song, and everyone likes it. Anyone who likes 80s rock will enjoy it as well…there’s ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’ and ‘Any Way You Want It.’ It’s just going to be different.”

Along with the teachers, students are also eager for their second concert with Wood.

Frederick Koo ’14, a cellist in Tech’s orchestra, recounted, “It was different. It was really exciting. That was also the first time we’ve ever done a light show. Also, there were guitars going on in the background.”

Koo already tasted the thrill of a rock concert, but this year, he and other students get to share the stage with the electric violinist.

Max Andrade ’14, a bassist, watched the concert last year. He described it as “intense and exciting.” Andrade thought it was a cut above the standard orchestra concert because there was a greater production value and more effort going into the Mark Wood concert.

“I can’t wait to get on the other side of things,” Andrade said.

Wood returns to Tech’s stage on December 11th. If you haven’t seen the violin virtuoso’s captivating performance, here’s your chance to witness it for yourself!

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