Brendan O’Donnell is a recorder player and baroque chamber music specialist from Adelaide, Australia. In 2008 he began his Bachelor of Music in New Zealand studying with David Coomber at the University of Auckland, then from 2009 with Kamala Bain at the New Zealand School of Music in Wellington. Over the following three years he became a regular performer in Wellington’s early music scene, while his studies earned him several awards, including the prestigious Ariadne Danilow Music Prize in 2011.
In October 2011, Brendan moved to Salzburg, Austria, where he completed his Masters on recorder with Dorothee Oberlinger and Matthijs Lunenburg in October 2013. In 2012 he was a finalist in the Competition for Performers of Contemporary Recorder Music in Darmstadt, Germany, and in August 2013 he was the winner of the Don Cowell Memorial Trust competition in Melbourne, Australia’s most prestigious recorder competition. Since then he has given several workshops for both the Victorian and South Australian recorder societies.
Brendan returns to Australia regularly, performing extensively with Adelaide’s leading period music ensembles, including Adelaide Baroque, the Adelaide Chamber Singers, and Ensemble Galante. He has performed with Accademia Arcadia in the esteemed Woodend Winter Arts Festival in Victoria, and alongside the Baroque Voices, Musica Lyrica, and the Wellington Orchestra in New Zealand.
Aside from his ensemble work, Brendan has received outstanding reviews for his solo recitals Breathless (February 2013) and Recorder Rara (January 2014), one reviewer describing him as a “virtuoso, scholar, [and] presenter … of rare charm and lucidity”. In November 2013 he also began a new early music project with young Adelaide violinist Simone Slattery, Bowerbird Ensemble, combining period practice with creative programming and venue choices – including clubs usually reserved for jazz or cabaret – designed to appeal to an alternative demographic.