Michael S. O’Brien is an ethnomusicologist, composer, teacher and performer who specializes in the popular and folk music styles of Argentina. His compositions for string ensembles have been performed by school, university, and professional ensembles in the United States, Haiti, Argentina, and the United Kingdom, and have been selected for All-State Honors Orchestra festivals in Ohio and Florida. He has created commissioned works for middle and high school orchestras in the Burnsville (Minnesota), Appleton and Verona (Wisconsin) School Districts, the Lawrence University cello ensemble, and the Wisconsin Cello Society. O’Brien has also taught middle and high school orchestra and served as a clinician and presenter for the University of Texas String Project, the Wisconsin Music Educator’s Association, and at public schools throughout the Midwest.
As an ethnomusicologist, Michael O’Brien has done extensive field research in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on folk and popular music styles including tango, milonga, murga, and folk music styles. He has published and presented research at ethnomusicology and popular music studies conferences in the U.S., Mexico, and Argentina, and has served as assistant editor of the Latin American Music Review.
Michael O’Brien holds a Ph.D. and master’s degree in ethnomusicology from the University of Texas at Austin, and bachelor’s degrees in English and instrumental music education from Lawrence University. He is currently an ACM-Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Ethnomusicology at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, where he teaches courses in world music and music history.