Eugene O'Brien


Guggenheim Fellow (1984)
Jacobs School of Music
Department of Music


Eugene O'Brien is the recipient of the Academy Award in Music of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Rome Prize of the American Academy in Rome, as well as awards from BMI, ASCAP, the League of Composers, and the International Society for Contemporary Music. He has received Guggenheim, Rockefeller, Fulbright, National Endowment for the Arts and other fellowships, and has been commissioned by the Fromm Foundation at Harvard University, the Serge Koussevitzky Foundation in the Library of Congress, by the Meet-the-Composer/Lila Wallace Reader's Digest Fund, and by many American and European performers and ensembles.

His music has been heard in concerts by the Cleveland Orchestra, the Italian Radio (RAI) Orchestras of Rome and Turin, the Omaha Symphony, as part of the Saint Louis Symphony Discovery series, the Louisville Orchestra New Dimensions series, and in numerous other concerts and festivals throughout this country and abroad. Recorded on the CRI, Golden Crest, Crystal, Capstone and Indiana University labels, his works are published by Codex Nuovo, G. Schirmer, and Boosey & Hawkes. Biographies and descriptions of his work are included in The New Groves Dictionary of American Music, Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, and The Harvard Biographical Dictionary of Music.

Also active in the performance of new music, Mr. O'Brien co-founded the Cleveland new music ensemble Reconnaissance in 1978 and was associated with the group until 1984. In 1985-87 he served on the production board of the Contemporary Music Forum in Washington, D.C., and directed the Indiana University New Music Ensemble from 1991 to 1993.

Mr. O'Brien studied composition with Robert Beadell, Bernd Alois Zimmermann, John Eaton, Iannis Xenakis and Donald Erb. He received undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Nebraska, undertook post-graduate studies at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik in Köln, Germany as a Fulbright scholar, and received his DMA degree from Case Western Reserve University/Cleveland Institute of Music. Mr. O'Brien has been a member of the faculty at the Indiana University School of Music since 1987, was chair of the Composition Department from 1994 to 1999, and is currently the school's executive associate dean. He previously served as composer-in-residence at the Cleveland Institute of Music and as chair of the composition and theory departments in the School of Music of the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.