Irish pianist Dr Billy O’Brien enjoys a diverse career as recitalist, concerto soloist, chamber musician and teacher. He has performed in concert throughout Ireland, as well as further afield, in France, Spain, Finland and the UK.
As concerto soloist, Billy has appeared most recently with Hibernian Orchestra (Chopin concerto no. 2) under conductor John Finucane at the National Concert Hall; and with UCD Symphony Orchestra (Grieg), as well as in concertos by Beethoven, Ravel and Gershwin with ensembles such as the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, RIAM Symphony Orchestra, Wexford Sinfonia and Trinity Orchestra.
Billy has given solo recitals in Irish venues such as the John Field Room, National Concert Hall, the Hugh Lane Gallery, and the National Gallery of Ireland, and has featured in concert series such as Spotlight (Triskel Arts Centre), Music for Wexford, Waterford Music, and the Crawford Gallery series. He has also featured in Irish festivals such as the New Ross Piano Festival, New Music Dublin, with performances being broadcast on RTÉ Lyric FM.
A love of chamber music has led Billy to collaborate with eminent musicians and ensembles. Billy partnered with violinists Mairéad Hickey and Yoan Brakha for the Kaleidoscope series recorded at Killruddery house (2021), and in contemporary repertoire Billy has performed with Ireland’s Crash and Kirkos ensembles. He has been involved in premieres of works by Irish composers such as Eric Sweeney, Sebastian Adams and Robert Coleman.
Billy’s competition successes include First Prize in the Maura Dowdall Concerto Competition, First Prize in the Hibernian Orchestra Concerto Competition, and second prize in the Freemason’s Young Musician of the Year.
Billy completed his undergraduate studies at the Royal Irish Academy of Music, and upon graduation received the Maura Teissier scholarship. Billy furthered his study at the Rueil Malmaison Conservatoire, Paris, under renowned pedagogue Rena Shereshevskaya, where he was awarded a Prix de Perfectionnement in Piano and Chamber Music, receiving the highest marks in piano. In 2022 Billy completed a doctoral degree in piano performance at Trinity College Dublin and the Royal Irish Academy of Music. His doctoral study posed artistic questions relating to the Maurice Ravel’s five-movement suite Miroirs (1905).