CELLIST CURATOR COLLABORATOR
THE ISOLATED CELLIST - OUT ON 2 April 2021.
A mix of ancient & modern music for solo and layered cello exploring themes relating to the coronavirus crisis
gathered & arranged to perform to her street during the lockdown period.
A passionate performer, arranger and curator, Clare O'Connell has over 20 years experience as a cellist specialising in contemporary chamber music. She is a member of visionary ensemble Lontano, the 12-piece cross genre ensemble of multi instrumentalists Propellor and the Storytellers Ensemble; she has a duo partnership with internationally acclaimed harpist Eleanor Turner; and is a regular collaborator with many other chamber music & chamber opera projects.
She founded and curates Behind The Mirror: her own series of intimate chamber music concerts in Berkhamsted, for which she has commissioned many new works from composers such as Alex Mills, Leonardo Margutti, Luke Bedford, David Bruce, Freya Waley Cohen and Rubens Askenar, experimenting with varying instrumental line-ups, making her own arrangements of a vast array of music for unusual groups of instruments, and interweaving music poetry and storytelling to add another dimension to the concert experience.
Her arrangements explore the parallels between composers both ancient and modern, allowing the music to speak on its own terms unfettered by historical context. The often seemingly disparate groups of instruments used always afford a uniquely rich sonic experience. They have been performed in Westminster Abbey, the Wigmore Hall and on BBC radio 3.
Recent highlights include a performance in the Wigmore Hall of her own arrangement of The Lark Ascending with Daniel Pioro, a solo performance in ‘An Elephant in the Garden’ at Shakespeare’s Globe’s storytelling Festival & playing the solo cello part in Sam Bordoli’s miniature music theatre piece for tenor and cello ‘Belongings’ as part of the Invisible Opera House inquiry programme. She is cellist and mentor for new chamber opera "Persephone's Dream" for soprano & solo cello with Fat Lady Opera; and she is developing ideas for a new album with Eleanor Turner.
She is a graduate of Wadham College, Oxford where she studied Ancient & Modern History followed by postgraduate study at the Royal College of Music & the Hochshule für Künste in Bremen, Germany with internationally acclaimed cellist and teacher Alexander Baillie. She plays on a cello by Stefan Krattenmacher.
Photos by Yvonne Catterson