Through his recitals, concerto appearances and critically acclaimed recordings, the Irish pianist John O’Conor has earned a reputation as a masterful interpreter of the Classic and Early Romantic piano repertoires. He has been praised for his formidable technique and through his eloquent phrasing, mastery of keyboard colour, and in particular his unique sound, he has been called a true Poet of the Piano. Recent engagements have included the Complete Beethoven Concerti at the Seoul International Music Festival; performances with the Atlanta, Memphis, Greenwich and Valdosta Symphony Orchestras, the Shanghai Philharmonic, and the Irish Chamber Orchestra; and recitals throughout Ireland, the USA, Turkey and Asia.
He has just returned from a tour in the USA which included a concert at Carnegie Hall. In addition he holds a residency at Shenandoah University and served on the jury of the Shanghai International Piano Competition.
He has performed throughout the world with many of the world’s leading orchestras including the London Symphony, Royal Philharmonic, Czech Philharmonic, Vienna Symphony, l’Orchestre National de France, the NHK Orchestra in Japan and the Cleveland, San Francisco, Dallas, Montreal and Detroit Symphonies in North America. He has given concerts in many of the world’s most famous halls including Carnegie Hall and the Lincoln Center in New York, the Kennedy Center in Washington, the Wigmore Hall and South Bank Centre in London, the Musikverein in Vienna, the Dvorak Hall in Prague and the Bunka Kaikan in Tokyo. He enjoys collaborating in Lieder recitals and performing chamber music with many instrumentalists and ensembles such as the Cleveland, Tokyo, Vanbrugh, Vermeer, Takacs, Vogler and Ying Quartets.
John O’Conor first gained widespread attention in the USA in 1986 with the release of the initial volume of the complete Beethoven Sonata cycle on the Telarc label which was issued as a box set in 1994. CD Review described Mr. O’Conor’s performances as “piano recording of the highest calibre and Beethoven playing at its best”. Mr. O’Conor has made more than 20 recordings for Telarc, including the complete Beethoven Bagatelles (which was cited by the New York Times as the best recordings of these works) and Mozart Concertos with Sir Charles Mackerras and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. He has also recorded the complete Nocturnes, Sonatas and Concertos of the Irish Composer John Field. In 2007/2008 he recorded Beethoven Concertos with the London Symphony Orchestra under Andreas Delfs and these will be issued as a boxed set in 2009.
Mr. O’Conor’s early studies began in his native Dublin. He spent five years in Vienna studying with the renowned pedagogue Dieter Weber, winning 1st Prize at the International Beethoven Piano Competition in Vienna in 1973, and made a special study of Beethoven with the legendary German pianist Wilhelm Kempff.
Mr. O’Conor is regarded as one of the most important piano teachers in the world today. His students have won many international prizes and he is in great demand for masterclasses and as a juror at the most prestigious International Piano Competitions worldwide.
For his services to music he has been awarded Honorary Doctorates by the National University of Ireland and by Trinity College Dublin, the title “Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” by the French Government and the “Ehrenkreuz für Wissenschaft und Kunst” by the Austrian Government.