Primary Academic Program: Music
Academic Program Affiliation(s): Bard Conservatory of Music, Bard Conservatory of Music: Graduate Choral Conducting, Bard Conservatory of Music: Graduate Orchestral Conducting
Biography:Since her acclaimed New York debut recital at Carnegie’s Weill Hall in 2002, pianist Isabelle O’Connell has developed a thriving international career that has taken her across four continents. As soloist and chamber musician she has performed around the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Europe, at venues such as Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, Chicago Cultural Center, Cleveland Museum of Art, Detroit Institute of Art, Gilmore Keyboard Festival, Time:Spans Festival, MATA Festival, Belfast Festival, St David’s Hall, Cardiff and the National Concert Hall, Ireland.
Isabelle has a reputation for being a dynamic interpreter and energetic advocate of music by 20th and 21st century composers, regularly commissioning and premiering new works. Some of the composers she has worked with include John Adams, John Luther Adams, Linda Buckley, Donnacha Dennehy, Michael Gordon, Missy Mazzoli, Morton Subotnick, Joan Tower, Kevin Volans and Julia Wolfe. In 2010 her debut solo album RESERVOIR featuring solo piano music by contemporary Irish composers was released to critical acclaim and the New Yorker called her “the young Irish piano phenom”.
As concerto soloist Isabelle has performed with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland under conductors William Eddins, Gerhard Markson and Gavin Maloney. Most recently she premiered Kevin Volans’ piano concerto 4b with the RTE Concert Orchestra at the 2023 New Music Dublin festival.
Isabelle is co-founder of Grand Band, New York’s new music piano sextet, described by the New York Times as: "six of the finest, busiest pianists active in New York's contemporary-classical scene”. Making their debut at the Bang on a Can Marathon in New York in 2012, they have since performed around the United States and U.K., at the Gilmore Piano Festival, Peak Performances Series at Montclair University, the Rite of Summer Music Festival, Liquid Music Festival, Vale of Glamorgan Festival, Sheffield University and Cornerstone Festival, Liverpool.
As chamber musician, Isabelle has performed with John Adams at Carnegie's Zankel Hall, with Meredith Monk at the Bang on a Can Summer Festival and with the New Zealand String Quartet at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada. She has also performed with Crash ensemble at the Canberra International Chamber Music Festival, Sydney Conservatoire, Galway International Arts Festival, Irish Museum of Modern Art and Reich Effect Festival. Isabelle has also played with ensembles Alarm Will Sound, the Da Capo Chamber Players, American Symphony Orchestra, the New Zealand and ConTempo String Quartets.
Isabelle has recorded for the Diatribe, Innova, NMC, Pyroclastic and Lyric fm labels. She has appeared on television and radio on both sides of the Atlantic, with regular broadcasts on ALL ARTS TV, WNYC, WQXR, WFMT Chicago, BBC3, RTE and Lyric FM radio.
Isabelle is currently serving on the piano faculty as Artist-in-Residence at Bard College and Conservatory of Music in New York. She is often invited to give masterclasses and workshops around the world, including at Princeton University, Queen's University Belfast, Montclair University, New Zealand School of Music and the European Piano Teachers' Association. Isabelle was previously Artist-in-Residence at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada and the Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris.