Pianist Bridget O’Leary is active as a solo pianist, collaborator and educator. Residing in Raleigh, North Carolina, she maintains a strong presence there as well as in her native Kansas City. As a 2022 recipient of a United Arts Council Artist Support Grant, Bridget was awarded funds to video record works by Florence Price, Chen Yi, and Denis Gougeon. These recordings support a larger project to record an album of works by 20th and 21st century composers exploring identity and place in North American classical music.
Other recent performance highlights include livestream concerts during the pandemic with cellists Kirsten Jermé and Lauren Dunseath, mezzo-soprano Erica Jackson, and saxophonist Nicolas Lira. 2019-2020 (the last pre-pandemic season) included solo recital at Kansas City’s Charlotte House Series, recitals with cellist Kirsten Jermé at Carol Woods and White Memorial Presbyterian in Raleigh, featured performance at the American Single Reed Summit with Xiphias Trio, and festival shows with her crossover quartet Fourscore. From 2015-2017 Bridget was a member of the pop orchestra My Brothers and Sisters and performed with the group at the 2015 South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas and at major festivals and venues in the Midwest. Bridget has previously served as program coordinator of Classical Revolution KC, an organization of young musicians bringing classical music to unconventional spaces including restaurants and record stores. In 2016 she founded KC Young Musicians Roundtable, an outreach series that helps young musicians develop their professional careers and provides a support network for freelance musicians.
Bridget is a student-centered educator and keeps a busy teaching schedule, working out of her studio in Raleigh and pioneering the virtual lesson format through online video lessons. She is also the founder of Fourscore, a classical crossover quartet bringing energetic arrangements of contemporary songs to the piano quartet ensemble. They released their first album in April 2019 and are set to release new material in early 2020. In 2018, she became a founding member of Xiphias Trio with Erik Hassell, violin, and Larkin Sanders, clarinet, specializing in contemporary works for the ensemble.
Bridget began studying piano when she was seven, and gave her first public solo recital at fourteen. Two years later she made her orchestral debut performing Saint-Saëns’ Second Piano Concerto with the Belleville Philharmonic Orchestra. She earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Missouri – Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance. While there, she won the Missouri Music Teachers Association and National Federation of Music Teachers, and was a winner of the 2012 UMKC concerto/aria competition. She has participated in master classes with Vladimir Feltsman, Jon Nakamatsu, and Stanislav Ioudenitch, among others. Her primary teachers include Jennifer Lim-Judd, Jane Solose, Robin Rysavy, and Scott McBride Smith.