College of Fine Arts and Communication
Faculty & Staff Directory
(group and secondary piano, harpsichord and early music
D.M.A., M.M., B.M., University of Southern California. John O’Brien was born into a musical family. He studied piano with his father from the age of five until graduating from high school. While in high school he also studied violin, flute and later harp. He began his undergraduate studies as a double major in violin and piano performance studying violin with Robert Gerle and piano with William Masselos. He continued his college piano studies with John Perry. In 1989 Dr. O’Brien was awarded the DMA in accompanying from the University of Southern California. There he studied with Gwendolyn Koldofsy and Jean Barr. While at USC he also studied organ with Cherry Rhodes and harpsichord with Malcolm Hamilton. Dr. O’Brien has been on the faculty of East Carolina University since 1985. He has been the Professor of Accompanying, Chairperson of the Department of Vocal Studies and Director of the ECU Opera Theatre. Currently he teaches group piano, harpsichord and directs the Early Music Ensemble. Dr. O’Brien has collaborated with such artists as Metropolitan Opera stars Hilda Harris and Victoria Livengood, violinist Eliot Chapo, tenor Bill Brown, flautist Carol Wincence (The Juilliard School), and clarinetist Deborah Chodacki. He has performed in New York's Merkin Recital Hall and at the Istanbul Festival with cellist Selma Gokcen. As harpsichordist he performs regularly with Clarino Consort and Baroque dance soloist Paige Whitley-Bauguess. He has performed recitals with soprano Julianne Baird and baroque violinist Julie Andrijeski, (Apollo’s Fire). He was a featured artist at the 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2010 Magnolia Baroque Festival in Winston-Salem NC and he has performed two times at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival with Chatham Baroque. Dr. O’Brien is Organist/Choirmaster at First Presbyterian Church in Kinston NC and he is the conductor of the Eastern Youth Orchestra.