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From his groundbreaking transcriptions of Radiohead, Elliott Smith and Nick Drake to his unforgettably sublime interpretations of the Classical canon, pianist Christopher O'Riley has stretched the piano beyond conventional boundaries.
His first recording of Radiohead transcriptions, True Love Waits received four stars from Rolling Stone and was as critically acclaimed as it was commercially successful. His Hold Me to This: Christopher O'Riley plays the music of Radiohead followed suit. Tackling the deeply emotional and complex work from the troubled singer/songwriter Elliott Smith, Home to Oblivion: An Elliott Smith Tribute drew critical praise from both Classical and pop music critics. O’Riley’s fourth set of transcriptions from the contemporary popular songbook was Second Grace – The Music of Nick Drake, a collection of repertoire written and originally recorded by the late enigmatic British guitar wizard and songwriter.
Mr. O'Riley has taken his unique vision to both traditional classical music venues and symphonic settings, as well as to entirely new audiences on the radio, at universities and even clubs. As host of the popular classical music radio show, National Public Radio's From The Top, Mr. O'Riley works and performs with the next generation of brilliant young musicians, demonstrating to audiences that these young artists are as interesting and diverse in their personal lives as they are in their music-making. Two years ago, PBS launched the weekly television series From the Top from Carnegie Hall featuring O’Riley as host, directed by Emmy winning director Gary Halvorson.
Mr. O’Riley has toured the U.S. with the world-famous Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Orchestra. He has appeared with the philharmonic orchestras of Los Angeles, New York, Moscow and the Royal Philharmonic in London, the Minnesota Orchestra, and the symphonies of Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Baltimore, Philadelphia and San Francisco. The illustrious group of conductors with whom he has collaborated includes Michael Tilson Thomas, Semyon Bychkov, JoAnn Falletta, Krystof Penderecki, Kurt Mazur, James Gaffigan, Vassily Sinaisky, Christopher Hogwood, Roger Norrington and Leonard Bernstein.
From early in his career, Mr. O’Riley was honored with many awards at the Leeds, Van Cliburn, Busoni and Montreal competitions, as well as an Avery Fisher Career Grant. O’Riley studied with Russell Sherman at the New England Conservatory of Music. Christopher O’Riley makes his home in Cleveland, OH. From the Top can be found on-line at www.fromthetop.org.