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 music festivals around the world have often been singled out as the highlight of those events. 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.
Paul O’Dette has made more than 130 recordings, receiving five 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. 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 and Monteverdi’s Poppea for the Boston Early Music Festival. The recordings of several of these operas have been nominated for Grammys and Gramophone awards. Paul O’Dette has guest directed numerous Baroque orchestras on both sides of the Atlantic including the Portland Baroque Orchestra, Tafelmusik, Apollo’s Fire, Ensemble Arion, Chatham Baroque and Corona Artis.
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. He has been awarded the “Guerriero di Capestrano” for his work on the music of Marco dall’Aquila including a critical edition of Marco’s complete works.
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.