First-generation Irish-American cellist Úna Fionnuala O’Riordan was born in the Chicago suburbs and began playing the cello at 4 years of age, after hearing a string instrument demonstration in her kindergarten class. When her family moved to the Washington, D.C. area, she continued her musical education and went on the attend the Interlochen Arts Camp as an Emerson Scholar. Her experiences at Interlochen, plus the opportunity to perform for Mstislav Rostropovich at the 1992 Kennedy Center Honors Ceremony, encouraged her to seek a career as a professional musician. She went on to receive a Bachelor of Music with Distinction from the Eastman School of Music, where she was named an Arts Leadership Scholar.
As a recipient of the Eckstein Grant, O’Riordan did her graduate studies at the Northwestern University School of Music, and performed with the Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra as the concerto competition winner. While completing her master’s degree, she was also Co-Principal of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, working under the batons of Daniel Barenboim and Pierre Boulez. A fellowship recipient at the Aspen and Meadowmount music schools, she has performed both orchestral and chamber music in major concert halls across the United States, Europe and Asia, including Carnegie Hall, Los Angeles’ Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Berlin Philharmonic and the Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. Her principal teachers include Hans Jørgen Jensen, Pamela Frame, Alan Harris, and Loren Stephenson, and she has performed in masterclasses for Janos Starker and Yo-Yo Ma, among other esteemed pedagogues.
O’Riordan first performed with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra as a last-minute substitute musician on the European Tour in the Fall of 2001, and continued to sub on occasion until winning a section position in December 2006. Before joining the DSO, she was a member of the Oregon Symphony, the Sarasota Opera (principal cellist), the Florida West Coast Symphony (assistant principal cellist), and the New Artist Piano Quartet. Recently, she recorded Astor Piazzolla’s chamber opera Maria de Buenos Aires on Koch International Records, and performed with indie rocker Sufjan Stevens and the Portland-based ensemble Pink Martini. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, travelling, and yoga, and looks forward to becoming a part of the Detroit musical community.