Shortly after finishing high school, Kondor, carrying little more than a pawn shop violin, drove with a couple of friends from Queens, NY down to Union Grove, NC to take part in the venerable Ole Time Fiddler's Contest and Bluegrass Festival. After two days of teeming heat and muddy campsites, they took the stage in front of thousands of rednecks, hippies, and bikers. The rest, as they say, is history. They placed 148th in a field of 151. Kondor never again attempted to play the fiddle, and to this day, can't even look at a bottle of Boone's Farm Apple Wine.
He did, however, stick with the piano. While earning a degree at the Manhattan School of Music he began working as a studio musician, became proficient with synthesizers, and in a short time became one of the most sought after keyboard players in New York. There's plenty of name-dropping elsewhere on this site... cough... Clapton, Streisand, cough... Pavarotti.
Inspired by some of the great artists he was working with, Kondor turned his attention to composing and arranging. Small white lies played a role in the success that followed. "Conduct a large orchestra? Lots of times!" and "SMPTE time code? Like the back of my hand!" were favorites. He is forever grateful to Arif Mardin and Jon Silberman for their encouragement, support, and infinite patience.
Despite years of formal training, Kondor has a special affinity for music that is organic, loose, and has a raw emotional quality. He's a real good harmonica player (diatonic and chromatic), a middling but vibey mandolin picker, and his accordion playing has been known to make old people cry. But not always in a good way.