Combining familiar musical materials and techniques with new inventions, Oliver aims for a visceral yet intelligent music that engages the audience’s perception of sound and culture.
John Oliver’s “wonderfully, creative music” (Fanfare) displays “a delicate yet often complex sense of beauty” (Musicworks). Winner of the Classical Composition of the Year Award at the 2013 Western Canadian Music Awards for his orchestral composition Forging Utopia, he has received high praise for the breadth of his creative output, from orchestral and chamber music, to intercultural works, electroacoustic music, and opera. Throughout the diversity of his work, one hears the passion for music that engages and challenges a wide audience of music lovers.
John Oliver came to international attention early in his career when he won six composition prizes for five compositions ranging from chamber to orchestral to electroacoustic music, including the Grand Prize at the 8th CBC National Young Composers’ Competition for his live electroacoustic work El Reposo del Fuego. Commissions and performances flowed from the likes of the Canadian Opera Company, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony, CBC, Vancouver New Music, St. Lawrence String Quartet, Turning Point Ensemble, New Music Concerts, and the SMCQ (Montréal), among others. Two solo releases in 2012 celebrate the breadth of Oliver’s music: Time is Dust, a DVD-audio disc of Oliver’s immersive electroacoustic music, and the CD Forging Utopia: Orchestral Music by John Oliver.