Paul O’Dette has been described as “the clearest case of genius ever to touch his instrument.” (Toronto Globe and Mail) One of the most influential figures in his field, O’Dette has helped define the technical and stylistic standards to which twenty-first-century performers of early music aspire. In doing so, he helped infuse the performance practice movement with a perfect combination of historical awareness, idiomatic accuracy, and ambitious self-expression. He has performed at major international festivals in London, Paris, Montpellier, Amsterdam, Utrecht, Bruges, Antwerp, Berlin, Munich, Vienna, Innsbruck, Prague, Bremen, Dresden, Milan, Florence, Geneva, Madrid, Barcelona, Tenerife, Copenhagen, Oslo, Cordoba, St. Petersburg, Moscow, Boston, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Montreal, Berkeley, Montevideo, Buenos Aires, Melbourne and Tokyo. Though best known for his recitals and recordings of virtuoso solo lute music, Paul O’Dette maintains an active international career as an ensemble musician as well, performing with many of the leading early music soloists and ensembles. He is a member of the acclaimed continuo ensemble Tragicomedia.
To date, Paul has made more than 120 recordings, many of which have been nominated for Gramophone’s “Record of the Year” Award. The Bachelar’s Delight: Lute Music of Daniel Bacheler was nominated for a Grammy last year as “Best Solo Instrumental Recording.” The Complete Lute Music of John Dowland (a 5-CD set for harmonia mundi), was awarded the prestigious Diapason d’or de l’année, while The Royal Lewters has received the Diapason d’or, a Choc du monde de la musique, a 5-star rating in BBC Music Magazine, 5-star rating in Goldberg and a perfect score of 10 from ClassicsToday.com. Mr. O’Dette has performed in radio and television broadcasts throughout the world.
Recently Mr. O’Dette has been active conducting Baroque operas. In 1997 he led performances of Luigi Rossi’s L’Orfeo at Tanglewood, the Boston Early Music Festival (BEMF) and the Drottningholm Court Theatre in Sweden with Stephen Stubbs. Since 1999 they have co-directed performances of Cavalli’s Ercole amante at the Boston Early Music Festival, Tanglewood, and the Utrecht Early Music Festival, Provenzale’s La Stellidaura vendicata at the Vadstena Academy in Sweden, Monteverdi’s Orfeo and L’incoronazione di Poppea for Festival Vancouver, Lully’s Thesée, Conradi’s Ariadne (Hamburg, 1691), Mattheson’s Boris Goudenow and Lully’s Psyché for the Boston Early Music Festival and Tanglewood. Their recording of Conradi’s Ariadne was nominated for a Grammy as best opera recording in 2006, while Lully’s Thesée was nominated for this year’s Grammy. Lully's Psyché will be released in May 2008.
In addition to his activities as a performer, Paul O’Dette is an avid researcher, having worked extensively on the performance and sources of seventeenth-century Italian and English solo song, continuo practices and lute technique, the latter resulting in a forthcoming book co-authored by Patrick O’Brien. He has published numerous articles on issues of historical performance practice and co-authored the Dowland entry in the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. Paul O’Dette is Professor of Lute and Director of Early Music at the Eastman School of Music and Artistic Director of the Boston Early Music Festival.
Photo by Hanja Chlala.