Borletti-Buitoni Trust
BBT Artists Rewarding Musical Excellence
O Duo
Percussion Duo
BBT Special Commissioning Award 2008

O Duo - Biography

O Duo was supported by Borletti-Buiitoni Trust between 2008 and 2013. For an up to date biography please visit

Owen Gunnell
Toby Kearney

Described by The Daily Telegraph as “brimming with style and panache,” alongside international performances, O Duo has won a Special Commissioning Award from the Borletti-Buitoni Trust and been appointed Artistic Directors of the Children’s Classic Concerts series in Scotland.

O Duo has performed across the world. Highlights include appearing at the BBC Proms, at the Last Night of the Proms in Hyde Park, recitals at the Wigmore Hall, Cheltenham and City of London Festivals. O Duo gave the premiere of Stephen McNeff’s Concert O-Duo at the Barbican as part of BBC Symphony Orchestra’s 80th birthday concert.

They have appeared at the Al Bustan, Harare and Mexico City Festivals and in Paris, Madrid, Lucerne, Zug, and Seinajoki, and tours to Germany and Bulgaria. Orchestral performances include concerto appearances with the BBC Philharmonic, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, London Philharmonic and Philharmonia Orchestras. In 2013 O Duo gave the world premiere of Fraser Trainer’s new percussion concerto firstly with Sinfonia ViVA and then with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. Their successful appearance in Melbourne included a series of concerts and innovative interactive workshops for children.

O Duo was formed in 2000 by Owen Gunnell and Oliver Cox which were both scholars at the Royal College of Music. In the Summer of 2018 Toby Kearney joined O Duo.

Owen and Toby have so far performed at BBC Proms, Wells Cathedral School and are featured in a CBBC TV programme and at a number of venues un the UK.

O Duo released their first CD on the Sony BMG label in 2007 to critical acclaim and a second CD was released in 2016.

O Duo take a keen interest in education work. They have given workshops and concerts in schools and special needs centres throughout the UK.

Updated. October 2018

The money we’ve been awarded by the Trust has created a fantastic array of opportunities for us, enabling us to commission a variety of works and actually offer these composers a fee rather than asking for favours all the time! A concerto, in particular, is the most exciting of these, given the lack of such repertoire for percussion duo, and it is great to know that we will be expanding this repertoire, not just for us, but for future performers as well.

Photographs by Gillian McBain