Olivier Darbellay was born in Berne in 1974 and started his musical studies at the Berne Conservatory in the cello class of Patrick Demenga and Peter Hörr and in the horn class with Thomas Müller and David Johnson as his teachers. He completed his studies with Bruno Schneider in Freiburg and for the natural horn with Th. Müller in Basel at the “Schola Cantorum Basiliensis”.
Since winning the music competition of the “Communauté des Radios publiques de langue françaises” in 1999 as "Soliste de l’année 2000" and being awarded first prize at the competition of the "Tribune des jeunes interprètes" 2000 in Lissabon he is a regular guest in the most prestigious halls and festivals.
As soloist he performed with orchestras like the Moscow Symphony, the Moscow State Philharmonic, the Philharmonia Zurich, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Liège, the Orquestra Sinfonica Portuguesa, the Radio Chamber Orchestra Bucharest, the Tokio Sinfonietta, the Südwestdeutsche Philharmonie, the chamber orchestras of Basel and Zurich, the Symphony Orchestras of Berne and Biel and the Camerata Bern as well as the Camerata Zurich with conductors like Luisi, Schiff, Holliger, McCreesh, Kitajenko and Sakari.
Chamber music plays an important role in Olivier Darbellay’s career, bringing him to perform across Europe , Russia, the USA and Canada, Asia and Australia, with various ensembles and partners such as Joshua Bell, Patricia Kopatchinskaya, Sol Gabetta, Mischa Maisky, Daniil Trifonov, Christian Zacharias, Konstantin Lifschitz, Christoph Prégardien, Mark Padmore and the Ensemble Raro.
He is a regular guest at festivals such as the Lucerne Festival, Menuhin Festival Gstaad, Verbier Festival, Berlin (Festwochen and März Musik), Kuhmo, Présence Paris, Montpellier, Wratislawia, Rheingau Festival, Grafenegg, Davos, Ittingen, Murten, Meiringen, Boswiler Sommer, as well as the Barossa and Oxford Chamber Music festivals.
An important part of his activities focuses also on the contemporary repertory as a soloist and as a member of the Collegium Novum Zurich and the Ensemble Contrechamps Geneva. Among several pieces dedicated to him was Holliger’s “Induuchlen”-Duo, the world premiere of which was at the 2006 Lucerne Festival.
In addition he is regularly invited to play and record on historical baroque and classical natural horn with groups such as the "Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra", the Basel Chamber Orchestra and the Bach Collegium Japan.
Olivier Darbellay is currently Principal Horn at the Berne Simphony Orchestra, the Basel Chamber Orchestra and the Gstaad Festival Orchestra.
Since 2001 he is a professor at the HEMU de Lausanne and holds the same position at the Musikhochschule Lucerne since 2010.
He is regularly invited to held workshops and masterclasses throughout Europe.
CD recordings for Challenge Records, ECM, Grammont, Cascavelle, cpo and Divox.