With a distinctive and probing musical style, American pianist Heather O'Donnell presents repertoire that spans the 18th through the 21st-century with "masterful playing" (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung), "fine intelligence" (Philharmonic Magazine), and "fiery performances" (the Village Voice).
She has performed throughout Europe, America, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Recent festival appearances include MaerzMusik (Berlin), Festival Agora (Paris), Peterhof Festival (St. Petersburg), Indaba Festival (Grahamstown, South Africa), (Le) Poisson Rouge (New York), Eclat Festival (Stuttgart), and Tanglewood Festival (Massachussets). She has given solo recitals throughout the world, for example in Amman, Kraków, Abu Dhabi, Paris, Beijing, Moscow, New York, and Berlin, and was a soloist with the St. Petersburg State Symphony, the Romanian State Philharmonic in Ploiesti, the DalSegno Chamber Orchestra, and the Harvard Orchestra.
Heather O'Donnell plays a wide range of music, from Bach's Goldberg Variations through major works of the early 20th-century (e.g. Charles Ives's- Concord Sonata, Maurice Ravel's Gaspard de la Nuit), continuing on to a passionate involvement with contemporary music. She gave over 30 world-premieres of solo piano works (including pieces by Luciano Berio, Walter Zimmermann and James Tenney) and is the dedicatee of works by several composers (including Michael Finnissy, Frederic Rzewski, Sidney Corbett, and Oliver Schneller). She was featured on Deutschland Radio, Radio France, and Deutsche Welle Television and gave lectures and masterclasses at Columbia University (New York), New England Conservatory (Boston), Universität der Künste (Berlin) and Rhodes University (South Africa). Heather O'Donnell was the first prize winner and the recipient of the Gaudeamus Foundation Prize in the Fifth Krzysztof Penderecki International Competition in Kraków, Poland. Her Solo-CD in honor of Charles Ives was recently released on Mode Records. She was the artistic director of many commissioning projects including "Responses to Ives" and "Piano optophonique". Heather O'Donnell was featured in German filmmaker Alexander Kluge's Film Nachrichten aus der ideologischen Antike.
Heather O'Donnell began studying piano at the age of five and was most influented by various teachers and mentors, especially by Charles Milgrim, Stephen Drury and Peter Serkin. She also worked closely with Yvonne Loriod-Messiaen, Emanuel Ax, and Claude Helffer. Aside from her musical life, she is an avid reader and amateur painter, and took several courses in Philosophy and Literature at the New School for Social Research and Columbia University. From 2000-2002 she was the assistant of philosopher Paul Edwards at the New School for Social Research. She obtained a bachelor's degree in psychology in 2014 from the Freie Univeristät in Berlin, researching the effects of neurological dysfunction on musical learning and motor control. In 2012 she served as a jury member at the Concours international d'piano d'Orléans
Heather O'Donnell is a Steinway Artist. She lives in Berlin with her husband, composer Oliver Schneller, and daughter.