Damon Herlihy-O’Brien

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 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 three-year scholarship through the Chiron Group and, in 2021, achieved the NZQA Top Scholar award for the highest NCEA Scholarship Music score in the country.

Damon is studying a conjoint Bachelor of Music/Bachelor of Science degree at The University of Auckland, under James Tennant for his cello studies.  He won several music prizes and scholarships at the university in 2022 .  His university ensemble, Kaha Trio, won the 2022 Carl and Alberta Rosenfeldt Prize, and is part of the APO’s “Aspiring” programme.

Damon has been the Principal Cello of the AYO since 2021 and plays a fine Carboni cello on generous loan to him through the Sir Michael Hill Foundation Instrument Bank.