Olivier Darbellay was born in Bern and grew up in a musical family. He studied the cello at the Bern Conservatory with Patrick Demenga and Peter Hörr as well as the horn with Thomas Müller in Bern and Basel. He completed his horn studies with Bruno Schneider in Freiburg i.Br., graduating „with excellence“. Since his first prize at the „Tribune des Jeunes interprètes“ in 2000 in Lisbon, as well as being named „Soloist of the year 2000“ at the Union of French Radios Competition, he performs as a soloist and chamber musician in the most prestigious halls and festivals across Europe, North America and Asia.
Olivier Darbellay specialises as much in the historical repertoire performed on period instruments as well as in the contemporary repertoire, where he works closely with composers such as Holliger, Pauset, Gervasoni, Gubler and Darbellay and regularly perfoms world premieres.
In addition to performing and his positions as principal horn of the Berne Symphony Orchestra and the Basel Chamber Orchestra Darbellay is a dedicated teacher, holding masterclasses and workshops across the world, as well as professorships at both the academies of Lucerne and Lausanne.