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“…should I come to meet Saint Peter at the pearly gates, I hope he will say, ‘Welcome, good and faithful servant! By the way, be sure to hear Paul O’Dette—he’s leading the angel band.’” Early Music America, Spring 2011
Paul O’Dette has been described him 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. His performances at the major international festivals in Boston, Vienna, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Munich, Prague, Milan, Florence, Geneva, Madrid, Barcelona, Tokyo, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Melbourne, Adelaide, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Berkeley, Bath, Montpellier, Utrecht, Bruges, Antwerp, Bremen, Dresden, Innsbruck, Tenerife, Copenhagen, Oslo, Cordoba, etc. have often been singled out as the highlight of those events.
Paul O’Dette has made more than 140 recordings, winning two Grammys, receiving seven Grammy nominations and numerous other international record awards. “The Complete Lute Music of John Dowland” (a 5-CD set for harmonia mundi usa), 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. “The Bachelar’s Delight: Lute Music of Daniel Bacheler” was nominated for a Grammy in 2006 as “Best Solo Instrumental Recording.”
Mr. O’Dette is also active conducting Baroque operas. His recent recording of Charpentier’s La Descente d’Orphée aux Enfers with the Boston Early Music Festival Chamber Ensemble won a Grammy for “Best Opera Recording of 2014,” as well as an Echo Klassik Award in the same category. 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 Thésée, Conradi’s Ariadne (Hamburg, 1691) Mattheson’s Boris Goudenow, Lully’s Psyché, Monteverdi’s Poppea, Handel’s Acis and Galatea, Steffani’s Niobe and Handel’s Almira for the Boston Early Music Festival. Their recording of Ariadne was nominated for a Grammy as “Best Opera Recording of 2005,” Thésée in 2007 and Psyché in 2008. Both Lully recordings were also nominated for Gramophone awards. Their most recent opera recording, Niobe, was awarded a Diapason D’or de l’année, an Echo Klassik Award and the prestigious Jahrespreis der Deutschenschallplattenkritik. Paul O’Dette has guest directed numerous Baroque orchestras and opera productions on both sides of the Atlantic.
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 music. 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.