(b Ottawa, Sept 7, 1892; d Montreal, Sept 20, 1958). Canadian composer and folklorist . He studied the piano and the organ in Ottawa with Amédée Tremblay and piano in Montreal with Alfred Laliberté. From 1915 he collaborated with Charles Marchand on collecting and arranging folksongs, and he was also active as a teacher, orchestral pianist and accompanist. From 1927 to 1930 he took part in the festivals commissioned by the Canadian Pacific Railway and became their joint musical director with Harold E. Key in 1930; it was for these that his ballad operas, based on Canadian folklore and including many folksongs, were written. His operetta Philippino was broadcast in 1943. O’Brien became a priest in 1952.
ballad operas unless otherwise stated