O’Dette, Paul, distinguished American lutenist, conductor, pedagogue, and music scholar; b. Pittsburgh, Feb. 2, 1954. He studied at W.Va. Univ. (1972–73) before pursuing training in Basel at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis (1973–76). He also took courses at the Musikwissenschaftliches Institut at the Univ. of Basel. In 1974 he launched his career as a lutenist, and his recitals in N.Y., London, Paris, Berlin, Hamburg, Vienna, Munich, Boston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, and other leading cities on both sides of the Atlantic secured his reputation as one of the foremost lute virtuosos of his era. He also made frequent ensemble appearances. In 1976 he became co-director of the Musicians of Swanne Alley, and also joined the faculty of the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y., where he became assoc. prof. of conducting and ensembles, and where he served as director of early music. From 1993 he likewise was artistic director of the Boston Early Music Festival. He served as a visiting prof. of lute at the Oberlin (Ohio) Coll. Cons, of Music (1977–78), the Akademie für alte Musik in Bremen (1989–95), and the Ind. Univ. School of Music (1995–96), and was artist- in-residence at Washington Univ. (1982) and the Univ. of Calif, at Los Angeles (1989). At the Boston Early Music Festival, he conducted performances of Purcell’s King Arthur (1995), Rossi’s L’Orfeo (1997), and Cavalli’s Ercole Amante (1997). He conducted Rossi’s L’Orfeo at the Drottningholm Court Theater (1997), Cavalli’s Ercole Amante at the Utrecht Early Music Festival (1999), and Provenzale’s Stellidaura at the Vadstena Academy (1999). In 1999 he was a guest conductor of the Portland (Ore.) Baroque Orch. O’Dette’s scholarly interests have led him to pursue work on the performance and sources of 17th century Italian and English solo song, continuo practices, and lute technique, and he has contributed articles to books and journals. His remarkable recording of the complete lute music of John Dowland was awarded the Diapason D’or de l’année (1997).
—Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire