PRESS

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One of “New York’s most exciting artists and top new music interpreters”
— Broadway World (March 2017)

 

Grand Band at Le Poisson Rouge
“Grand Band is verily — and I don’t say this lightly — the Traveling Wilburys of the city’s new-music piano —scene.”
— Zachary Woolfe, New York Times (August 8, 2012)

 

Grand Band
“Six of the finest, busiest pianists active in New York’s contemporary-classical scene — Vicky Chow, David Friend, Paul Kerekes, Blair McMillen, Lisa Moore and Isabelle O’Connell — join forces in this rousing new ensemble, which generated substantial buzz in its debut at the Bang on a Can Marathon in June”
— New York Times (August 2, 2012)               

      

“The young Irish piano phenom...”
— The New Yorker (Sep. 2010)                

                                                                          

“...from the trad meets avant-garde of Seóirse Bodley’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North, to the madcap montage of Jennifer Walshe’s becher, and the post-minimalist washes of Donnacha Dennehy’s Reservoir.”
— The Irish Times (Aug. 20th, 2010)

 

“...O’Connell plays with impressive power, clarity, and commitment.”
— Sequenza 21 (Sep. 30th, 2010)

 

“To all this diverse music Isabelle O’Connell brings great imagination and flair, as well as technical assurance. The recording is a fine one and nothing impedes admiration for this imaginative selection.”
— Jonathan Woolf, www.musicweb-international.com

 

“Throughout, she plays with a firm grasp of rhythm, articulated phrasing, and with a sense of transparency in the fashioning of musical lines rarely displayed in contemporary music circles... The entire performance is so strong in scope and full-bodied, rich tone..”
— Women in the Arts (Winter 2011)

 

“a phenomenal showcase for O’Connell’s stylistic versatility” 
— New Haven Advocate (October 2010)

 

Crash Ensemble at Peak Performances, Montclair University
The “pianist, accompanied by an almost solar-bright light, stole the show with a performance that had the instrumentalist popping the keys while literally handling the strings inside the piano. At that moment, it was the purest music could be, removing the separation between the artist and the art.”
— David Clarke, Insite (May 24,2010)

 

Mantra Percussion and Friends at Le Poisson Rouge, NYC
“... a finely polished performance of Steve Reich’s “Music for 18 Musicians,” a turning point in the composer’s career, and in the history of Minimalism. Performances of the work have been plentiful lately, and the Mantra players seemed to find a fresh source of energy in its hypnotic pulse, appealingly morphing themes and syncopated, overlapping rhythms.”
— Allan Kozinn, New York Times (September 13,2009)

 

REDSHIFT play Old First Concerts
"Pianist O'Connell opened with soft bits played inside the piano, directly onto the strings, and also produced some tricky pedal effects with seeming ease. Her polish and sense of proportion were invincible."
— Heuwell Tircuit, San Francisco Classical Voice (June 13th, 2008)

 

“The Irish eyes were smilin' throughout the packed house at Carnegie Hall for a concert of new music by Irish composers presented by Irish Network-NYC.  The program opened with Isabelle O'Connell performing impressively in Elaine Agnew's solo piano work, "Seagull", composed in 2005.  This dramatic work explored the keyboard's range with raw excitement.  It is an excellent work for the piano that shows a high level of craftsmanship. Ms. O'Connell's commitment to the work was in evidence, and she was riveting throughout the performance.... Donnacha Dennehy's "Reservoir" in its world premiere had lovely harmonic nuances and washes of sound, and Ms. O'Connell played it beautifully on the piano.... This program of contemporary music was a revelation: it was well balanced with enough variety, filled with exciting performances, and was just the right length--seemingly holding the audience's attention throughout.   Most importantly, we are learning that there are some very talented Irish composers     and musicians out there and that we need to hear more of them and more often.”
— Anthony Aibel, New York Concert Review (October 14, 2007)

 

"Spin," a tiny sonata from Don Byron, offered a kind of paean to Shostakovich and two splendid fellows, pianist Isabelle O'Connell and cellist Jessica Sammis."
— Richard Houdek , Berkshire Eagle (August 1st, 2007)

 

“One of our most successful musical exports...”      
— Dick O’Riordan, Sunday Business Post (March 25th, 2007)

 

“Her fervent advocacy of contemporary music is one of her most notable attributes as a performer."
— Karen Dervan, Sunday Tribune (March 25th, 2007)

 

John Adams concert at Carnegie Hall
“…a zesty account….the ensemble played the piece brilliantly”
— Allan Kozinn , New York Times (March 23rd, 2005)

 

Rimsky-Korsakov’s Piano Concerto - National Symphony Orchestra/William Eddins
“her playing was thoroughly musical, certain of what it was aiming for and brimming with quiet, engaging zest”
— Martin Adams , The Irish Times (July 2004)

 

Sligo New Music Festival
“a hardedged and impressive late night recital by the exciting young pianist Isabelle O’Connell”
— Belfast Telegraph (March 2004)

 

“The brooding melody sank deeply soulward and its lavish elaboration was inspired in this beautiful performance. O’Connell clearly knows how to inhabit and develop a given mood. She has the technical prowess to achieve such ends as well, and a spirit and intelligence to bring it all together…The ending Fuga: Allegro con spirito (of Barber’sSonata Op. 26) was muscular and lithe, beginning in hippity-hop cheer and growing into the huge menace that frightens off all but the brave of heart. Ms. O’Connell charged fearlessly ahead and reaped the spoils in the manner of tumultuous applause.” 
— Darrell Rosenbluth, New York Concert Review (Jan. 2002) 

 

“ a thoughtful program thoughtfully played”
— Douglas Sealy, The Irish Times (Jan. 2002)

 

Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue
“…..a liveliness of spirit and a braveness of attack of which the composer would surely have approved.”
— Michael Dervan, The Irish Times (Aug. 1999)

 

“Lioness of the Keys”

“…...playing Liszt’s Vallee d’Obermann, 22-year old Isabelle O’Connell earned jubilant applause. The ease of her playing and the complete authority of her performance were wonderful. In the Variations in f minor by Josef Haydn she showed that she could not only deal with dense textures but also proved her mastery of finer details. She brought out the humorous side and intellectual development of the work into the foreground with great attention to detail.”              
—Guido Guntermann, West Allgemeine Zeitung (Nov. 1998)

 

“Here Isabelle O’Connell playing with imaginative freedom, evocatively captured the composer’s images of wind, sea, spray and stone, inspired by Seamus Heaney’s ‘Postscript’ and also spurred the audience to the most enthuasiastic response of the evening.” 
— Michael Dervan, The Irish Times (Oct. 1998)