Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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O'Connor, Stephen

O'Connor, Stephen, composer, guitarist; b. San Diego, CA, 3 June 1945. He lives in La Jolla, Ca., with his wife, Sharon, and has two grown daughters, Oriele, 28 and Allison, 21.

San Diego recording artist O'Connor is well known for not only his masterful jazz guitar work but as a composer, arranger and producer. Stephen attended San Diego State University. In 1972 he was awarded the prestigious Down Beat Magazine scholarship for jazz composition and improvisation to Berkeley School of Music where he attended for a time. Following that, he became a studio guitarist in San Diego and Los Angeles and with the help and guidance of drummer Jim Plank began his composing career. During that time, Stephen performed with such luminaries as Red Mitchell, Bob Magnusson, Bob Mover, Jim Plank, Ronny Ogden, and Joni Summers. He led a jazz group called "Stream" with renowned bassist Jeff Rew, Ogden, Plank, Magnusson and Joe Marillo. His extraordinary talent in composing led him to writing for Sea World, Universal Studios, Warner Brothers, Disney, the Muppets, the Republic of China, the 1994 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Seville World's Fair and the Kennedy Space and Rocket Center. One of the more challenging commissions was a suite for five jazz soloists and full orchestra for the San Diego Symphony which featured saxophonists Charles McPherson and Hollis Gentry, guitarist Peter Sprague among others. He was also commissioned to compose a "trio" suite for violin, jazz bass and piano featuring Mary Karo, Bob Magnusson and Mike Wofford. Stephen recently completed a production for a Warner Brothers Park in Spain and an amazing musical production for the Queen Mary in Long Beach. Among his many accomplishments, Stephen has written extensively for television. He composed the score to "Man to Match his Mountains" filmed by Peter Pilafian from the "Eiger Sanction" debuted on PBS, Discovery Channel special on the Navy Seals entitled "Silent Option" as well as countless Jeep and other commercials. Stephen produced, arranged, engineered and mastered Coral MacFarland Thuet's recent CD "To Another Shore." Stephen also played the guitar and composed four original pieces for the album. He is currently working on a new CD project which features arrangements for cello, flute, sax, guitar and voice. The CD combines the sounds of classical music, jazz and Latin rhythms. Stephen's latest release, "Stream-Trios/Duos" again combines the talents of Jeff Rew and Ronny Ogden. This CD features several notable jazz classics as well as original compositions. He is currently creative director of InnerFocusMusic.com where he produces, arranges, mixes and masters CD's for various artists on the label.

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