"Alec O'Leary's guitar playing is never less than superb" - Classical Guitar Magazine, USA."Easily one of Ireland's most talented and accomplished classical guitarists" - Hotpress."Alec is a highly accomplished guitarist with a very natural touch on the instrument. He has a refined and developed musical sensibility" - John Feeley.
Alec O’Leary is one of the Ireland’s leading exponents of the guitar and has performed to international critical acclaim, winning praise for his impressive technique, outstanding musicianship and inspired programming.
Alec is co-founder and director of one of Europe’s most prestigious guitar festivals, the Guitar Festival of Ireland. Along with a busy performing schedule, festival commitments, and teaching posts Alec is equally dedicated to making guitars with his father, world-renowned luthier Michael J. O’Leary.
Alec began playing guitar at an early age taught by both his father and grandfather. Subsequently he went on to study with Irish virtuoso John Feeley at the Dublin Conservatory of Music and Drama where he attained his Masters Degree in performance. During this time he received tuition from some of the world’s most distinguished musicians including Manuel Barreuco, Scott Tennant, Sergio Assad and Roland Dyens. Alec has also studied for an extended period in Naples with Maestro Aniello Desiderio aided by the Arts Council of Ireland.
An active performer and arranger, winner of numerous guitar competitions, and a diligent concert promoter, Alec has commissioned many new works for guitar from some of its most celebrated composers such as Roland Dyens and Sergio Assad. He has also facilitated several major music projects including ‘Guitar Traditions’ seminar series in the Royal Irish Academy of Music with John Williams, Paco Pena & Pavel Steidl and the Sony recording ‘Places Between’ with John Williams and John Etheridge. Alec released his own debut album Milonga in 2008. The Classical Guitar Magazine (USA) reviewing the record, stated: “Throughout, O’Leary does full justice to the music and gives some very exciting and clever performances, the ultimate track – the excellent Dyens arrangement of the classic Felicidade – being the icing on the cake and making for a truly exhilarating conclusion to a very enjoyable programme”.
Alec’s second release From the Olive Tree, with renowned soprano Deirdre Moynihan showcased many new arrangements for voice and guitar such as Garcia Lorca’s Canciones Españolas Antiguas, Roy Orbison’s Llorando and Nino Rota’s Brucia la Terra (from the Godfather III). This recording received glowing reviews in the media with The Classical Guitar Magazine (London) subsequently describing the duo as “An authentic and musically profound ensemble”.
Alec has performed numerous times on national TV and Radio and in concert with the RTÉ Contempo Quartet, Aspiro Choir, RTÉ Cór na nÓg, members of the National Symphony Orchestra and more regularly with soprano Deirdre Moynihan. Alec currently holds the position of Guitar Lecturer at Royal Irish Academy of Music, Dublin.