Mark O'Brien

Clarinet & Bass Clarinet Tutor

Royal Birmingham Conservatoire

Born in Poole, Dorset, Mark began learning the Saxophone at the age of 16. Colin Bryant, his first teacher was a successful local jazz band musician. Colin encouraged Mark to pursue his classical and jazz studies on the saxophone and also to learn the clarinet. Learning the clarinet was a crucial decision, as there were no specific courses dedicated to solo saxophone at any of the major music colleges at that time.

Performing in Big Band concerts in and around Bournemouth, Mark was considered one of the busiest alto saxophone players in Dorset in the 1980's. Continuing his clarinet studies further, his next clarinet teachers were players from the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. These included Tony Godwin and also the highly influential clarinettist Michael Whight, who quickly went on to join the Philharmonia Orchestra.

After gaining a place at the Royal Academy of Music, Mark flourished in his first two years of studies with Keith Pearson and Richard Addison. He left at the end of his second year without graduating to join Simon Rattle's CBSO as Principal Bass Clarinet, a job he has held for nearly 25 years.

Mark's career has taken him all over the world playing in all types of musical styles. He has worked with many of the most highly acclaimed British orchestras and ensembles.

Away from playing, Mark has been a highly successful teacher of clarinet, saxophone, bass clarinet and other related instruments. Many of his most talented students have gone on to pursue a place in the music profession.