JOHN OLIVER


composer

Oliver is among Canada's leading composers

of music for orchestra, chamber ensembles, opera, and electroacoustic media. Oliver’s music embraces a range of possibilities, resonating the past, and forging new associations that reflect our time and place.

News

  • The great and hilarious short film by Carol Sawyer and Evann Siebens for which I created sound and music is now on Carol's web site for all to see. Go here. Inspired by the experimental films of the 1930’s Parisian avant-garde and the work of Maya Deren, The Rehearsal documents a musical gathering which is interrupted by a series of surreal encounters between the heroine, Natalie Brettschneider, and various objects. The film was premiered recently in Ottawa at the CUAG as part of Carol's show The Natalie Brettschneider Archive, curated by Heather Anderson, and will be shown this fall at the AGGV when the show opens in a new iteration at that gallery on September 30th.

  • Don't miss our upcoming performance, "light ripple light", in Vancouver this Saturday night Aug. 6 at the Gold Saucer, an evening of collaboration & improvisation of new works for cello and electronics, my first collaboration with Vancouver-based cellist Marina Hasselberg. We have been working together this summer to create intense, sometimes dense, beautiful soundscapes in realtime, performing on our native instruments and other found objects. The metaphor of ripple and light pervades. Don't miss the results. Read more here

  • Very happy to announce my nomination for the 2016 "Classical Composition of the Year" award at the Western Canadian Music Awards, for the composition Birds of Paradise Lost for flute and electronics, performed by Vancouver flutist Paolo Bortolussi from the album Israfel, which is also nominated for Classical Album of the Year. The WCMAs take place this year in Regina from October 13-16. Congratulations Paolo for a beautiful album.

  • Oliver in rehearsal with Turning Point Ensemble, April 28

    Tonight is the premiere of COOL CUT, a concerto in 5 tunes for alto saxophone and chamber ensemble at the Telus Theatre of the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts. This has been a watershed piece both personally and creatively, as I channel the cool jazz music that was the soundtrack to my childhood, playing almost daily on 4-hour reel-to-reel tape that would get swapped out for Beethoven and Mozart string quartets. My mash-up is most comparable to the techniques used in Stravinsky's Rite of Spring and Berio's Sinfonia, third movement. For more information and to buy tickets, visit the Turning Point Ensemble web page.

  • On Sunday April 24, 7pm at the Roundhouse, the new Sound of Dragon Ensemble will perform my piece Ornamental – Nicole G Li on erhu and Itamar Erez playing guitar. (More info here.)[http://soundofdragon.com/sound-of-dragon-ensemble/]

  • On May 13, 2017, the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra will perform the world premiere of the new version of my "Raven Steals the Light" with a new narration part. I'm honoured to be sharing this program with Vincent Ho and John Burge.

  • New Release! Paolo Bortolussi performs my "Birds of Paradise Lost", the second recording of this composition! (If you don't see the player below, go here)

  • The New Westminster New Media Gallery at the Anvil Centre has invited me to give a talk on two Sundays in March (13th and 20th) called "The Art of Listening" about their current OTIC exhibit. Free admission.

  • Vancouver conductor and composer Owen Underhill will conduct Oliver's Gypsy Chronicles at the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra's Global Soundscapes festival on February 27 at the Orpheum Annex. More info

  • The Piano-Erhu Project (Corey Hamm and Nicole Li) performed my WORLD ENIGMA 1 at UBC Roy Barnet Recital Hall Feb. 5, 7:30 pm. See their Facebook Page for details.

  • Julia Nolan

    Julia Nolan and John thank all our 50 supporters who helped fund the commission of John's new work for alto saxophone and chamber ensemble at our Indiegogo campaign. Please note that although the official campaign is over, you can still contribute until the day of the concert, April 29th 2016, and help pay John's fee.

  • Carol Sawyer

    I had a blast providing sound and composition for this wonderful film called The Rehearsal that will be part of artist/singer Carol Sawyer's art show at Carleton University, opening January 18.

    More information

New Music

  • light ripple light for any melodic instrument and computer

  • Cool Cut for alto saxophone and chamber orchestra. Commissioned by Vancouver saxophonist Julia Nolan.

  • World Enigma 2 for solo cello (or viola) – commissioned by Richard Carswell

  • Flight 182 Meditations with Renée Saklikar, poet. A work for poet and computer processing

  • Shaking the Core for string quartet – commissioned by the Langley Community Music School

  • Scenes from an Intercultural Marriage for traditional Chinese Orchestra – commissioned by the Little Giant Chinese Orchestra

  • World Enigma 1 for erhu and piano for the PEP Project. – commissioned by Nicole Ge Li and Corey Hamm

  • Braque's Beach and Picasso's Reach for solo 4-octave classical guitar – commissioned by Neil Douglas

  • Travels Without My Parrot for clarinet, shaker, guitar, and string quintet.

Work-in-Progress

  • Happy to announce that I'm working with Vancouver sitarist Mohamed Assani on a collaborative project for sitar and orchestra!

  • Cool Redux Obscurus for computer musician

Upcoming Events

Latest Performance

  • "a delicate yet often complex sense of beauty" - Musicworks

  • "…blown away by the John Oliver piece" [Traces performed by the Vaughan String Quartet, Edmonton, AB, April 2, 2016] - Dave Selsky

  • “one of the most promising orchestral composers of today." - Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review

More Quotes on the Press Tab

Recent Recordings

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    Featuring "Birds of Paradise Lost"

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    Flight 182 Meditations
    with poet Renée Sarojini Saklikar

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    Orchestral Works
    Title track awarded "Classical Composition of the Year" at the 2013 Western Canadian Music Awards

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    Featuring "Birds of Paradise Lost"

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    Featuring Eagle Flies to Mountain
    “deserves to become an intercultural standard”
    -Georgia Straight

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    PEP (Piano-Erhu Project) first recording. Oliver performs as guitarist on his trio composition Eternity Gaze. “…stunning” - Pianist William Aide

Join me…

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Oliver is among Canada's leading composers

of music for orchestra, chamber ensembles, opera, and electroacoustic media. Oliver’s music embraces a range of possibilities, resonating the past, and forging new associations that reflect our time and place.

  • "A tour de force of orchestral writing, this work is a delightful listening experience." - Elaine Keillor, CAML Review on Forging Utopia

  • "I hope you ask John Oliver to write more trio work for you. His cycle was stunning!" - William Aide, pianist, on recent recording of Eternity Gaze for erhu, piano, and guitar by PEP. (See Recordings)

  • John Oliver’s music is alive, vibrant, and exciting. His artistry and craft in composition challenges and delights the performers. - Saxophonist Julia Nolan

Recent Recordings

  • Stacks Image 77084

    Flight 182 Meditations
    with poet Renée Sarojini Saklikar

  • Stacks Image 77088

    Orchestral Works
    Title track awarded "Classical Composition of the Year" at the 2013 Western Canadian Music Awards

  • Stacks Image 77092

    Featuring "Birds of Paradise Lost"

  • Stacks Image 77097

    Featuring Eagle Flies to Mountain
    “deserves to become an intercultural standard”
    -Georgia Straight

  • Stacks Image 77102
    PEP (Piano-Erhu Project) first recording. Oliver performs as guitarist on his trio composition Eternity Gaze. “…stunning” - Pianist William Aide

Upcoming Events

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New Music!

  • light ripple light for any melodic instrument and computer

  • Cool Cut for alto saxophone and chamber orchestra. Commissioned by Vancouver saxophonist Julia Nolan.

  • World Enigma 2 for solo cello (or viola) – commissioned by Richard Carswell

  • Flight 182 Meditations with Renée Saklikar, poet. A work for poet and computer processing

  • Shaking the Core for string quartet – commissioned by the Langley Community Music School

  • Scenes from an Intercultural Marriage for traditional Chinese Orchestra – commissioned by the Little Giant Chinese Orchestra

  • World Enigma 1 for erhu and piano for the PEP Project. – commissioned by Nicole Ge Li and Corey Hamm

  • Braque's Beach and Picasso's Reach for solo 4-octave classical guitar – commissioned by Neil Douglas

  • Travels Without My Parrot for clarinet, shaker, guitar, and string quintet.

Work-in-progress

  • Happy to announce that I'm working with Vancouver sitarist Mohamed Assani on a collaborative project for sitar and orchestra!

  • Cool Redux Obscurus for computer musician

Latest News

  • The great and hilarious short film by Carol Sawyer and Evann Siebens for which I created sound and music is now on Carol's web site for all to see. Go here. Inspired by the experimental films of the 1930’s Parisian avant-garde and the work of Maya Deren, The Rehearsal documents a musical gathering which is interrupted by a series of surreal encounters between the heroine, Natalie Brettschneider, and various objects. The film was premiered recently in Ottawa at the CUAG as part of Carol's show The Natalie Brettschneider Archive, curated by Heather Anderson, and will be shown this fall at the AGGV when the show opens in a new iteration at that gallery on September 30th.

  • Don't miss our upcoming performance, "light ripple light", in Vancouver this Saturday night Aug. 6 at the Gold Saucer, an evening of collaboration & improvisation of new works for cello and electronics, my first collaboration with Vancouver-based cellist Marina Hasselberg. We have been working together this summer to create intense, sometimes dense, beautiful soundscapes in realtime, performing on our native instruments and other found objects. The metaphor of ripple and light pervades. Don't miss the results. Read more here

  • Very happy to announce my nomination for the 2016 "Classical Composition of the Year" award at the Western Canadian Music Awards, for the composition Birds of Paradise Lost for flute and electronics, performed by Vancouver flutist Paolo Bortolussi from the album Israfel, which is also nominated for Classical Album of the Year. The WCMAs take place this year in Regina from October 13-16. Congratulations Paolo for a beautiful album.

  • Oliver in rehearsal with Turning Point Ensemble, April 28

    Tonight is the premiere of COOL CUT, a concerto in 5 tunes for alto saxophone and chamber ensemble at the Telus Theatre of the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts. This has been a watershed piece both personally and creatively, as I channel the cool jazz music that was the soundtrack to my childhood, playing almost daily on 4-hour reel-to-reel tape that would get swapped out for Beethoven and Mozart string quartets. My mash-up is most comparable to the techniques used in Stravinsky's Rite of Spring and Berio's Sinfonia, third movement. For more information and to buy tickets, visit the Turning Point Ensemble web page.

  • On Sunday April 24, 7pm at the Roundhouse, the new Sound of Dragon Ensemble will perform my piece Ornamental – Nicole G Li on erhu and Itamar Erez playing guitar. (More info here.)[http://soundofdragon.com/sound-of-dragon-ensemble/]

  • On May 13, 2017, the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra will perform the world premiere of the new version of my "Raven Steals the Light" with a new narration part. I'm honoured to be sharing this program with Vincent Ho and John Burge.

  • New Release! Paolo Bortolussi performs my "Birds of Paradise Lost", the second recording of this composition! (If you don't see the player below, go here)

  • The New Westminster New Media Gallery at the Anvil Centre has invited me to give a talk on two Sundays in March (13th and 20th) called "The Art of Listening" about their current OTIC exhibit. Free admission.

  • Vancouver conductor and composer Owen Underhill will conduct Oliver's Gypsy Chronicles at the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra's Global Soundscapes festival on February 27 at the Orpheum Annex. More info

  • The Piano-Erhu Project (Corey Hamm and Nicole Li) performed my WORLD ENIGMA 1 at UBC Roy Barnet Recital Hall Feb. 5, 7:30 pm. See their Facebook Page for details.

  • Julia Nolan

    Julia Nolan and John thank all our 50 supporters who helped fund the commission of John's new work for alto saxophone and chamber ensemble at our Indiegogo campaign. Please note that although the official campaign is over, you can still contribute until the day of the concert, April 29th 2016, and help pay John's fee.

  • Carol Sawyer

    I had a blast providing sound and composition for this wonderful film called The Rehearsal that will be part of artist/singer Carol Sawyer's art show at Carleton University, opening January 18.

    More information

Join me…

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