From Seattle, Washington. Has lived in Nashville and San Diego, California. Currently lives in New York City.
He was a child prodigy. He could identify specific classical composers at age 3.
Began playing guitar at age 6. Began violin lessons at age 11. Seven months later, won second place at the National Old-Time Fiddle Championships in Weiser, Idaho.
Appeared on the Grand Ole Opry when he was 12 years old. He was introduced by Roy Acuff.
By age 14, had won two National Junior Fiddle Championships, One Grand Masters Fiddle Championship, and the National Guitar Flatpicking Championship (Winfield, Kansas). After his victory at Winfield the rules were changed—making contestants wait at least five years before they could win the championship a second time. (He did.)
1979, toured Japan with Dan Crary.
1980, joined The David Grisman Quintet, but left after breaking his arm in a skiing accident. 1981, joined an electric band called The Dregs—formerly The Dixie Dregs.
Has performed at Carnegie Hall with Stephane Grappelli, David Grisman and cellist Yoyo Ma.
1983, embarked on a solo career, performing and recording with a wide variety of artists in just about every musical category.
2015, released Duo album with his wife Maggie (OMAC).
2016, released Coming Home album (Rounder) by The O’Connor Band with Mark O’Connor featuring his wife Maggie (fiddle), son Forrest (vocals/mandolin) and Forrest’s partner Kate Lee (vocals/fiddle). The band also includes Joe Smart (guitar) and Geoff Saunders (bass).
2017, won the Grammy Award for Coming Home album (Rounder).