Damon Herlihy-O’Brien

Born and raised in Auckland, Damon began playing the cello shortly before his 4th birthday.  From his formative start through the Suzuki Method with Sally-Anne and Anna-Marie Alloway, Damon went on to intensive studies with baroque specialist and cello pedagogue James Bush.

In 2020 his chamber group Trio Achilles was runner-up at the NZCT National Chamber Music Competition, winning the inaugural Helen Young Diamond award.  Damon was the recipient of a generous scholarship through the Chiron Group for three consecutive years and, in 2021, achieved the NZQA Top Scholar award for the highest NCEA Scholarship Music score in the country.  Also an avid jazz, rock, and big band drummer, Damon’s rock group won the Auckland Central Finals and reached the Rockquest National Finals in 2020.

Damon is in his first year of a conjoint Bachelor of Music/Bachelor of Science, under James Tennant, and has been the Principal Cello of the AYO since 2021.  Damon plays a fine Carboni Cello on generous loan to him through the Sir Michael Hill Foundation Instrument Bank.