“…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 Vienna, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt, Prague, Budapest, Cracow, Milan, Florence, Zurich, Geneva, Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, Tokyo, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Melbourne, Adelaide, Boston, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Berkeley, York, Edinburgh, Montpellier, Utrecht, Brussels, Bruges, Antwerp, Bremen, Dresden, Innsbruck, Tenerife, Copenhagen, Oslo, etc. have often been singled out as the highlight of those events.
Mr. O’Dette is also active conducting Baroque operas. His recording of Charpentier’s La Descente d’Orphée aux Enfers with Stephen Stubbs and 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, together with Stephen Stubbs, he directed performances of Luigi Rossi’s L’Orfeo at Tanglewood, the Boston Early Music Festival (BEMF) and the Drottningholm Court Theatre in Sweden. 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 L’Orfeo, Poppea, and Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria, Handel’s Acis and Galatea, Agostino Steffani’s Niobe and Orlando generoso, Handel’s Almira, Campra’s Le Carnaval de Venise, Telemann’s Pimpinone, and a double bill of Pergolesi’s La Serva Padrona and Livietta e Tracollo for the Boston Early Music Festival. Six of their opera recordings have been nominated for Grammy awards, including Ariadne as “Best Opera Recording of 2005,” Thésée in 2007, Psyché in 2008, La Descente d’Orphée aux Enfers in 2014, Niobe in 2015 and Charpentier’s Les Arts Florissants in 2019. The recording of Steffani’s Niobe, was awarded a Diapason D’or de l’année, an Echo Klassik Award and the prestigious Jahrespreis der Deutschenschallplattenkritik. O’Dette has directed numerous Baroque orchestras and opera productions on both sides of the Atlantic.
Paul O’Dette has made more than 155 recordings, winning two Grammys, receiving eight Grammy nominations, 7 Diapason D’Or de L’année, 12 Diapason d’Or, 2 Echo Klassik Awards, a Jahrespreis der Deutschenschallplattenkritik, 7 Grammophone 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 and selected as the “Best Solo Lute Recording of Dowland” by BBC Radio 3. “The Bachelar’s Delight: Lute Music of Daniel Bacheler” was nominated for a Grammy as “Best Solo Instrumental Recording of 2006.”
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, Italian, German and French Baroque opera, basso continuo practices and instrumental 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 Co-Director of the Boston Early Music Festival.