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John O'Brien

is a conductor, director and composer who lives in Cork.

He has worked on over sixty different productions of opera and music theatre in Ireland, UK and Canada, and has toured across Europe, Japan and China.

John composed and directed the operas Morrígan – at Cork Opera House in 2022; and The Nightingale and the Rose – which premiered with an Irish tour in 2018. He directed and co-composed music for the play Heart of a Dog at The Everyman and Dublin Theatre Festival. John is acclaimed for directing & conducting the operas Faust, Der Vampyr, Orpheus, and Pagliacci at the Everyman.

Other compositions include Ecclesiastes – premiered by the Carducci String Quartet and Derbhle Crotty; Lullaby for the City (In a Time of Pandemic) for chamber orchestra – premiered at Cork Midsummer Festival; Easter 1916 – premiered by Fiona Shaw and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra; scores for the feature films Tree Keeper and Shem the Penman Sings Again – premiered at the Galway Film Fleadh; as well as music for plays, short films, choral works, piano pieces and numerous operatic, choral and orchestral arrangements.

Other projects include conducting the Cork Opera House Concert Orchestra – most recently in a double bill of two Beethoven Symphonies (III and V), as well as concert performances of 13 different operas since 2016, and numerous other concerts. He directed the dance film Inner Landscapes; has been guest conductor with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, the National Chamber Choir of Ireland, and the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland; and plays piano with Karen Underwood.

John and Éadaoin O'Donoghue are hiring a Creative Producer for their new production company ORACAL, with support from Cork Opera House and the Arts Council.

Details here:

John is composing the score for Padraig Trehy's new feature film, 'Stupid August', funded by the Arts Council.


He is also composing the score for Bob Jackson's new documentary.

John is developing a family show for Summer 2024, as well as further orchestral and opera concerts, at Cork Opera House. John will conduct The Magic Flute on Tuesday 10 October. Tickets available here:

He is curating a chamber music series at The Everyman from January 2024.

John will be Musical Director for Fionn Foley's musical 'The Giggler Treatment', based on the Roddy Doyle book, at The Ark, Dublin, in December. Tickets available here:

Upcoming gigs with Karen Underwood include: White Horse Ballincollig on 8 September; and a residency in the Cork Opera House for the Cork Jazz Festival 27 - 29 October. Tickets available here:


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