Paul O Dette

American lutist, orchestra conductor and musicologist (Columbus, 1954)

Paul O'Dette is a pioneer in the field of rediscovering ancient music and gave back to the lute a prominent place in the music landscape thanks to his deep knowledge of its history and a passionate love for its repertoire.

Paul O'Dette started his musical education by learning the piano and the violin before turning to rock'n roll and electric guitar during his teenage years. The members of his band suggested he focused on classical guitar to perfect his technique. He discoverd at his guitar teacher's house a lute that he eventually bought, to go deeper into his discovery of a repertoire he was already playing. He wasn't able to find a teacher to train in his peculiar repertoire and therefore become his own master and read the bills of the 16th century on the subject. 

Later, he gave up on rock'n and roll, finding it too loud and focused entirely on his new instrument. Yet, he stayed deeply marked by his sense of improvisation and kept it up with the practice of ancient music. In order to complete his training, he became the student of Thomas Binkley and Eugène Dombois at the Schola Cantorum in Basel at the same time as Hopkinson Smith. Over there, he perfected his style, characterized the different dance rhythms and deciphered the ancient notation.

When he came back to the United States, the music school of Eastman in New York offered him to become the head of an ancient music department for which he gave lute lessons. He was at the same time the artistic director of the Boston Early Music Festival and gave public concerts on the six continents, by himself as well as with reputed ancient music ensembles. He counts to his credit more than a hundred recordings, among which stands on the top the complete lute pieces of John Dowland and the opera Ariadne of Johann Georg Conradi. Relentless researcher, he is the author of several articles regarding the practices of execution of Renaissance and baroque music. 

Lover of good wine, he spends each year several months in Europe to quench his thirst of culture.

Six landmark dates in the life of Paul O'Dette
1976: started his concert artist career
1993: began the recording of the complete lute pieces of Dowland, finished in 1997
1997: conducted Orfeo of Luigi Rossi at the Boston Early Music Festival
2001: conducted Thésée of Lully in Boston
2010: release of an album dedicated to the music of Marco dall’Aquila
2014: release of the recital My Favorite Dowland 

Radio France music documentation biography, July 2014