Dustin J. O'Halloran (born September 8, 1971) is an American pianist and composer.
A self-taught pianist from the age of 7, O’Halloran has lived in Los Angeles, where he studied art at Santa Monica College and formed Devics with Sara Lov. He has also lived in Romagna, Italy, and in Berlin.
Having gained serious recognition and critical acclaim for his studio albums and live performances, O'Halloran has become a recognizable name in “post-classical” field; a definition of the genre rather than vice versa. Now sitting alongside peers and friends Max Richter, Hauschka and Jóhann Jóhannsson (who aided O'Halloran in mixing his newest album) on FatCat’s dedicated orchestral imprint 130701, 2011’s Lumiere album was a step forwards in terms of timbral palette and harmony. Featuring NYC’s ACME Quartet, Stars Of The Lid’s (SOTL) Adam Wiltzie and prodigious young composer Peter Broderick among the guest musicians, the scale of Lumiere is expansive: “it made me realize how important it is to find players that truly understand what you do and to create a language with them,” writes O'Halloran.
O'Halloran’s score to Sofia Coppola’s 2005 film Marie Antoinette also earned him a tentative step into soundtrack work, which has since become a creative path for his composition. Having subsequently scored William Olsson’s An American Affair (2010) and Drake Doremus’ Sundance-winning Like Crazy (2011), O'Halloran’s more recent film projects include: Now Is Good (Ol Parker, 2012), a British-American production starring Dakota Fanning, Olivia Williamson, Paddy Consadine and Jeremy Irvine; The Other Dream Team (Marius Markevicius, 2012) – a documentary on Lithuania’s 1992 Olympic basketball team and their tacet resistance to Soviet rule; Breathe In (2013), Drake Doremus’ latest feature starring Felicity Jones and Guy Pearce; and most recently, O'Halloran and SOTL’s Adam Wiltzie scored the music for London Royal Ballet choreographer Wayne McGregor’s newest full-length contemporary dance production, Atomos.
O'Halloran’s rock background – primarily with Bella Union’s “dream-pop” outfit Devics – has led to an unassuming, perceptive approach to composing modern classical pieces. Inspired by, among others, Arvo Pärt, Philip Glass, Hans Otte, John Luther Adams, Olivier Messiaen, Ennio Morricone, Gavin Bryars. O'Halloran has synaesthesia, a condition he first noticed around the time of his performance at New York's Guggenheim Museum for their Kandinsky retrospective and 50th anniversary gala.
Lumiere – O'Halloran's third solo full-length – follows two Bella Union albums released in 2004 and 2006 respectively (Piano Solos Vol. 1 and Piano Solos Vol. 2). These two records were pieced together piano suites written and recorded on a restored 1920s Sabel piano in his Italian farmhouse. The compositions, however, gradually grew into fully formed solo pieces as O'Halloran's ambitions and designs developed. The path, of course, would eventually lead him to Lumiere’s ensemble arrangements and a shift away from the piano as his work’s primary timbre without losing any of the affection for the instrument. A solo live album – entitled Vorleben – was released by FatCat / 130701 in June.
2011 also saw the release of A Winged Victory for the Sullen (Erased Tapes), the self-titled debut LP from a new musical project: a collaboration with Adam Wiltzie that builds on their production work together (Wiltzie played in important role in the sound design and engineering work on Lumiere) and respective musical histories. A Winged Victory For The Sullen has formed the basis for O'Halloran's live performances.