Pipes / Whistle
John O' Brien hails from one of Ireland’s prominent musical families. He studied classical piano at the Dublin College of Music from an early age. At 13 he began playing uilleann pipes learning from his older brother Mick O’ Brien who is one of Ireland’s foremost pipers.
John has toured extensively in the U.S, Europe and Japan since his early teens and performed in venues from Carnegie Hall and Radio City Music Hall in New York to The Apollo Theatre in London. He joined Riverdance - The Lagan Company in late 1997 before becoming the uilleann piper with Riverdance on Broadway in 2001. John has also featured as a solo artist on numerous commercial DVD recordings including Live at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, The Voice of Hope with Tommy Fleming and the platinum selling DVDs 'Celtic Woman' and 'Celtic Woman A New Journey'. His television credits include the RTÉ series The Island plus various other programmes for RTÉ, BBC and UTV.
John established his own group Reel Deal joining forces with Deiseal founding member Niall Ó Callanáin and fiddler Maireád Nesbitt. More recently he has collaborated with renowned Kerry musician Paudie O’ Connor and this pipes and box duo will shortly release an album featuring an innovative take on music from the Sliabh Luachra region.
He has performed at the National Theatre of Ireland and has played and recorded with a variety of international acts including The Irish Tenors, Dolly Parton, The Celtic Tenors, Nikola Parov, Ragús and Sessions from the Hearth. A versatile player, John is greatly in demand as a session musician working with David Hayes, Bill Whelan, Brian Byrne, Seamus Brett and the Irish Film Orchestra.
John is also a qualified primary school teacher and has delivered workshops and masterclasses in uilleann pipe playing as far afield as New Zealand.