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Name: Oliver John Kentish
Skills: composer, conductor, player, teacher
Address: Sidumuli 34, Reykjavik 108, Iceland
Links: Website     E-mail
Born in London in 1954, Oliver commenced studies on the cello aged 12. He went on to the Royal Academy of Music, London, studying with Vivian Joseph. In 1976, in his final year at the RAM, "Three Songs of Death", poems by Verlaine, for baritone, string quartet and string orchestra was premiered in the Duke's Hall, by David Wilson-Johnson, baritone, the Coull String Quartet and a string orchestra conducted by the composer. In 1977, Oliver moved to Iceland to take up the position of co-principal cellist with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. He has lived in Iceland ever since. In recent years, he has devoted more of his time to composition and conducting, and is a member of the Society of Icelandic Composers, having taken Icelandic citizenship in 1989. Oliver now lives and works in and around the capital, Reykjavik. His output consists of music in most genres; song, choral, chamber and orchestral. In 1993, he was commissioned by the British government to compose a work which would be the gift of the British people to the people of Iceland on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the republic. The work, entitled "Mitt folk" or "My People" for baritone soloist and symphony orchestra, was premiered on September 22 by Michael J Clarke and the Iceland S.O., conducted by Osmo Vänskä. It is dedicated to the former president of Iceland, Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, on behalf of the Icelandic people.

Much of Oliver's output to date has been for voice, songs for the counter-tenor Sverrir Guðjónsson make up a large part of this output. He has also composed a number of choral works, including a Mass, for chamber-choir, organ and percussion, a Requiem for double choir and a quartet of instruments: clarinet, trombone, cello and bass; a "Missa Brevis" for choir and string orchestra, two settings of the Magnificat, one for soprano solo and three cellos and one for choir and orchestra; various motets, "Ave Maria", "Nunc Dimittis", "Ave Verum", "Tantum Ergo", all for unnacompamied choir. He has also written a setting of the 150th Psalm of David, "Laudate Dominum" for children's/womens' choir and organ, ana a setting of "Totus Tuus" for two choirs. A setting of Psalm 25 vv 15-22 was commissioned by the choir "Schola Cantorum" of Hallgríms Church in Iceland and will receive its premiere in June 1999.

Oliver's chamber-works to date include "5 Little Pieces" for clarinet, cello and piano, "Outside the Circle" for flute, clarinet and string quartet, a string quartet, a wind-quartet and a brass quintet, as well as shorter single-movement works. He is at present working on various commissions, including a work for flute, bass-clarinet and piano, a solo piece for contrabass-trombone and a work for viola and marimba.

As well as his compositional activities, Oliver also teaches cello and theory at various music-schools in and around Reykjavik and also conducts school and community orchestras.



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