"A pianist of unbounding sensitivity" (Gramophone) ; "He represents a vanishing tradition that favors inner expression and atmosphere over showmanship and bravura" (Chicago Tribune) ; "Impeccable technique and musicality ... it would be hard to imagine better performances" (Sunday Times - London) ; "This artist has the kind of flawless touch that makes an audience gasp" (Washington Post); "Exquisite playing" (New York Times).
The Irish pianist John O'Conor has been gathering wonderful reviews for his masterly playing for over forty years. Having studied in his native Dublin, in Vienna with Dieter Weber and been tutored by the legendary Wilhelm Kempff his unanimous 1st Prize at the International Beethoven Piano Competition in Vienna in 1973 opened the door to a career that has brought him all around the world.
He has performed 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 Atlanta, 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, the Seoul Arts Centre, 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 his first volume of Beethoven Sonatas on the Telarc label. He went on to record the complete Sonatas and these were issued as a box set in 1994. CD Review described Mr. O'Conor's performances as "recordings of the highest calibre and Beethoven playing at its best" and went on to say "by now he should be recognized as the world's premier Beethoven interpreter". Mr. O'Conor has made more than 20 recordings for Telarc, including the complete Beethoven Bagatelles (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 and 2008 he recorded the complete Piano Concertos of Beethoven with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Andreas Delfs and these have been greeted with great acclaim. In the past two years he has released three new CDs on the Steinway label, one of Beethoven's Diabelli Variations and two of Haydn Sonatas. He has also been featured on tonebase.com with videos on teaching and discussing Beethoven and Haydn Sonatas. Last summer he recorded a CD of the complete Beethoven Cello Sonatas with the Irish cellist Ailbhe McDonagh.
Prof. O'Conor is regarded as one of the most important piano teachers in the world today. He is Distinguished Artist in Residence, Professor of Music and Chair of the Piano Division at Shenandoah Conservatory in Virginia, Professor of Piano at the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, Distinguished Visiting Artist at the TU Dublin Conservatoire of Music and Visiting Professor at Showa University in Japan. 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, by Trinity College Dublin, by the Dublin Institute of Technology and by Shenandoah University, the title "Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres" by the French Government, the "Ehrenkreuz für Wissenschaft und Kunst" by the Austrian Government, the Order of the Rising Sun by the Emperor of Japan, and has received many other awards. In 2015 he was made an Honorary Life Member of the Royal Dublin Society. In October 2016 he was made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in Ireland and in November 2017 he was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award of the National Concert Hall in Dublin by the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins.
John O'Conor is a Steinway Artist.