Michael O’Toole is one of the leading guitarists in Ireland today. He has performed all over the world to great acclaim and has worked with many other world-class musicians and ensembles. Michael has appeared as a soloist with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra for a live broadcast on RTÉ Radio and has also performed in Gloucester with the renowned Carducci String Quartet. He is currently recording a trio cd of the music of Isaac Albéniz for international release with English guitarist Ray Burley and Ireland’s John Feeley. Throughout his career, Michael has balanced his busy performing schedule with an active role in promoting the instrument at home and abroad. He spent three years as Artistic Director of the Waltons Guitar Festival in Dublin and in 2007 was Curator of the Chord Festival, which brought an array of excellent musicians including John Williams to Ennis, Co. Clare. Michael is now a director of the prestigious Kilkenny Arts Festival.
Michael recorded the solo CD, ‘Invocation’ in 2007, which receives regular airplay on RTÉ lyric fm and RTÉ Radio 1. He is well known for collaborating with others and has worked with many different groups such as the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra, The Opera Theatre Company, The Dublin Guitar Quartet, Impromp2, The Callino Quartet and others. He has been involved in a hugely successful duo project with famous Chinese pipa virtuoso Liu Fang (the only known collaboration between classical guitar and pipa), which led to the acclaimed recording ‘Changes’ in 2008 and a number of concerts since then in Ireland. The duo performed in Mexico in 2010 as part of the ‘Zacatecas Festival’ and is planning to perform next year in Ireland, Spain and Canada.
Michael has also worked with many high-profile Irish composers such as Eric Sweeney, Ian Wilson, David Fennessy and Anna Rice, in addition to working with international composers Toshiyuki Haraoki, Clark Ross and Philip Glass. He also performed as soloist in 2009 on a soon-to-be-released recording for composer John Hughes with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, arranged by Fiachra Trench. Michael has performed on radio many times, including a live recording of Rodrigo’s Aranjuez Concerto in 2005 on RTÉ lyric fm with David Brophy and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, as well as performances on the shows of Pat Kenny, John Kelly, Ryan Tubridy, Vincent Browne and many others.
Michael studied for many years with Irish virtuoso John Feeley and subsequently with Ricardo Iznaola in Denver Colorado. He achieved his performance degree from Trinity College and completed a Masters degree in 1997 from University College Cork. Michael has a deep commitment to education and is a lecturer in guitar at the Waterford Institute of Technology’s Department of Creative Arts. He has previously taught with great success in the DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama and in the Royal Irish Academy of Music and has been employed as a 2nd, 3rd and post-grad examiner at the RIAM, DIT, WIT, Cork School of Music and Dundalk Institute of Technology.
In 2012, Michael commenced work on a PhD disseration with DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama about the career of the guitarist, John Williams.
"...I was knocked out by his performances… he revealed a talent for telling stories with his hands and weaving meticulous trains of musical thought, delivered with a fair punch."Tim Panting, Classical Guitar Magazine
"In Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez the playing of soloist Michael O’Toole was fluent, shapely and always apt"Martin Adams, Irish Times
"O'Toole is a powerful player who gave great accounts of Giuliani’s Grand Overture and Rodrigo’s Invocacion y Danza."Classical Guitar Magazine