NEW YORK (Top40 Charts/ Shore Fire Media) - Fifteen-year-old Connecticut native Sam Weiser, who started playing at age three and was a concertmaster by the time he was 10, is a most unusual violin prodigy. A prote'ge' of composer and violinist Mark O'Connor, Sam was the 2008/2009 recipient of the Daniel Pearl
Memorial Violin, honoring the journalist and musician murdered in Pakistan in 2002. Now, at an age when many of his peers are saving their summer-job money for new video games, Sam is donating the profits from his debut album, 'Sam I Am' (out from Disappear Records February 16, 2010) to the Friends
Pearl's FODFest, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote and strengthen community through the universal language of music.
In October, Sam will be playing six shows of this year's FODFest (tour dates below), in between his 10th-grade honors classes at a Connecticut high school and his studies at Manhattan School of Music, where he is the first pre-college student to double-major in classical and jazz violin.
Sam credits Mark O'Connor's fiddle camps, which he's attended since we was nine, for his exposure to string music of multiple genres. That exposure, as well as the world music roots of 'Sam I Am' producer and fellow FODFest performer SONiA (of disappear fear), accounts for the album's astounding musical variety: its 14 tracks include compositions from Carlos Santana, Bill Monroe, Eddie Vedder, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Eddie Palmieri and George Shearing, among others.
O'Connor's "Gypsy Fantastic," which leads off the album, showcases Sam's dazzling virtuosity and the swing guitar of Lulo Reinhardt, the legendary Django Reinhardt's great-nephew. Hear it here (for listening only, not cleared for posting): http://bit.ly/GypsyFantastic_MP3
Sam actually is like many teenage boys in some ways: he's a crazed Madden game aficionado, fanatical NY Mets and Giants fan and a rabid fantasy football and baseball enthusiast. But his concerns go beyond that. "It's very important to me," he says, "to use the power of music to promote tolerance and inspire respect for differences."
Sam Weiser on MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/samweisermusic
Sam Weiser at FODFest 2008: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6l2Ku9fSSc
Sam Weiser on the FODFest tour:
Oct 3 - Great Barrington, MA Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center
Oct 4 - New York, NY - City Winery
Oct 6 - Baltimore, MD - Beit Tikvah
Oct 24 -Bloomington, IL - Illinois Wesleyan University
Oct 25 - Cedar Rapids, IA - Legion Hall
Nov 1 - Norfolk, CT - Infinity Music Hall and Bistro
Friends of Daniel Pearl Festival Official Website: http://www.fodfest.org/