Olivia Diercks and Karla Colahan, cellist and violinist of the new-classical crossover duo, The OK Factor, have one word to describe their musical connection: lucky. Organic and genuine, their original compositions feel both comfortingly familiar and uniquely fresh, and have been described as "genre-bending" (Julie Amacher, MPR) and "pure magic" (Wausau Pilot & Review). The ease with which they write and perform has caught the attention of the Minnesota music community in which they live and work, bringing them success on stages such as The Cedar Cultural Center and as frequent featured artists with Minnesota Public Radio. Their distinct compositional and performance style awarded them the honor of being finalists for the prestigious McKnight Fellowships for Musicians in 2018.
Within their six years of writing, performing, and regional touring, The OK Factor has been in residence with Minnesota Public Radio's Class Notes Artists program ('16), at The Grand Theater in Wausau ('17), College of Saint Benedict ('17) and Luther College ('18), sharing their intimate performances, outreach activities, and educational workshops with these communities. Their passion for education has taken them across the United States to conduct workshops with students, and has led to their new education initiative, ATLAS. ATLAS is aimed at exciting and encouraging students of all ages to explore what music means to them as community members and as individuals, to find their unique musical voice, and how they can use that voice to foster meaningful, life-changing opportunities. Home to student study guides, teacher lesson plans, transcriptions of original OK Factor tunes, student leadership opportunities, and other resources, ATLAS provides a roadmap for a musical adventure, in hopes that musicians will then create their own adventure using no map at all.
Olivia and Karla are also sought-after collaborators, having partnered with numerous Minnesota composers and musicians including singer-songwriters Ellis Delaney and Lynn O'Brien, percussionists Jenny Klukken and Krissy Bergmark, and composer and Boston Ballet Music Director, Mischa Santora, among others. They have appeared as opening acts for Charlie Parr, The High Kings, and Swedish quintet Jaerv, as well as composers-in-residence for digital music library Black Label Music. The OK Factor has produced three studio albums of their original pieces and arrangements: Water Street ('14), That's Enough of That ('16), and Have Yourself an OK Christmas ('17).
Playful and unexpected, The OK Factor writes and performs folk-inspired music influenced by Americana and Irish fiddle styles, with an artistry that reveals their classical training. Cellist Olivia Diercks and violinist Karla Colahan find great joy in defying expectations and delivering an experience outside of what audiences anticipate from a cello and violin combo. Their passion for performing and educational outreach has continued to bring them success in communities across the Midwest, inviting audiences to explore music and cultivate a curiosity about its role in their lives.