Marney O'Sullivan

Professorial Staff - Timpani


Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance
Faculty of Music
King Charles Court
Old Royal Naval College
SE10 9JF

Tel: +44 (0)20 8305 4444

Email: m.o'

Area of Work

Wind, Brass & Percussion Department


In October 2012 Marney O’Sullivan was appointed Section Leader Timpani of Royal Northern Sinfonia, one of the world’s great chamber orchestras. He is the second timpanist to have held this post in 57 years.

Marney worked in his native city of Dublin for several years as a freelance musician, playing in everything from prog rock to musicals and jazz bands. Then aged 22 he was chosen to be timpanist of the European Community Youth Orchestra under Claudio Abbado, an experience which persuaded him to make orchestral playing his career. He studied privately with Michael Skinner (percussion) and David Searcy (timpani) and was soon offered his first job – in the Hallé Orchestra percussion section. Later he joined Opera North as Principal Timpani, where he spent many years honing his skills in the great operatic repertoire.

Over the last decade or so he has performed as guest principal with almost all the leading orchestras in Britain, most regularly with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. The long list of conductors he has worked with includes Thomas Zehetmair, Vladimir Jurowski, Kurt Masur, Roger Norrington, André Previn, Bernard Haitink and Mark Elder. He has toured throughout Europe and further afield, and his timpani playing can be heard on hundreds of CD’s and DVD’s.

Marney is a keen communicator has featured in workshops, masterclasses, pre-performance talks, lecture-recitals and other events including the Percussion Summer School which he directed 2004-7. He is co-director of Global Music Foundation which runs jazz & world music courses in the UK, Italy, Croatia, Germany, Spain and China.

He has taught timpani at Trinity Laban since 2007.