After giving her first performance at the age of four, and attending Royal College of Music Junior department, Olivia won music scholarships to Sherborne and then Bryanston Schools, both in Dorset. She graduated from the Royal Northern College of Music in 1999; B.Mus (Hons) in Academic Studies (2.1). At 21, inspired by a jazz summer school at the Guildhall School of music, Olivia discovered the art of improvisation. This propelled her into a postgraduate diploma at Leeds College of Music (Distinction in 2002). At Leeds, her curiosity drew her to many different styles of music such as Cuban music, Jazz and particularly Indian Music.
After graduation she spent two years performing with the Indian fusion band Savateen, playing their own original works. Highlights were the Brno Street festival in the Czech Republic and at the Millennium Park and Birla Temple, in Calcutta. In 2005, she decided to follow her dream by going to India to study with violin maestro Kala Ramnath, which became the first of many visits to the country. Her most recent visit was in 2019/20.
Performing projects and Collaborations
Within Jazz and World Music, Olivia has worked on many different projects in UK and abroad with illuminaries such as Jean Toussaint, Tony Remy, Matthew Bourne, Adam Fairhall, Stuart McCallum, Alabaster DePlume, Kirsty Almeida, Shirley Smart and Jason Singh, Kefaya and Suns of Arqa.
Olivia has also worked with pop legends Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott.
She has played at Glastonbury festival and at major UK venues such as Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room, Lowry Centre and Bridgwater Hall.
However, it was always Olivia’s dream to compose music of her own. She has been the instigator and leader of a handful of groups over the years. Firstly Strung Out with Lamb’s bass player Jon Thorne. She also lead ‘The Owl Ensemble’, featuring Simply Red’s bass player Sylvan Richardson, and John Ellis (keys) and Myke Wilson (Drums). The Owl Ensemble String Quartet appeared with Beautiful South’s Paul Heaton for his show “The 8th” at the Barbican Centre (London) and Lowry (Manchester).
Her ongoing band Unfurl is an innovative quintet who collaborate, drawing particularly from their influences of Jazz and Indian. They have appeared at Manchester, Marsden, London and Brecon Jazz Festivals as well as at venues such as the Bridgewater Hall Foyer and the Birmingham Symphony Hall Foyer, Sage Gateshead.
In 2009 Olivia was one of eight musicians in the country to be selected to be a participant of the Serious Take Five artist development scheme. Olivia has regularly since looked to the Arts Council England, for help with touring costs and to develop music.
Classical Indian Music
She has performed with Kousic Sen, Lisa Mallet, Jonathan Meyer, Jasdeep Singh and has given solo recitals in the UK. She most recently collaborated with Chitravina Maestro N. Ravikiran. She performs every few years internationally with Mukesh Jhadav
Olivia has always been interested in combining with other art forms. In 2006 she composed the soundtrack to a documentary film for Religious Education in schools, ‘Buddhist Pilgrimage: An Indian Spiritual Journey’ (The Clear Vision Trust).
A particular highlight of her career was working with LaMachine, 2008 commissioned by Liverpool European Capital of Culture, described by The Observer as, ‘the biggest, most spectacular piece of street theatre ever seen in the UK’.
She also composed for and directed Mask, a multi-media collaboration at The Contact Theatre, as part of Manchester Jazz Festival in 2009 with moving image artist Mark Cameron Minard and her band ‘Unfurl”.
Olivia has recorded with producer Tony Remy for saxophonist Jean Toussaint’s album ‘Nazaire’. She features on Kirsty Almeida’s ‘Pure Blue Green’, Zoe Kyoti’s “Wishing Bone”, Jadid Ensemble’s “Sigh of the Moor”, Kefaya’s “Radio International”, “Seaming” by Seaming To and Fiona Nehama Abrahami’s ‘Random Excess’.
Olivia released her own album ‘Amoghasiddhi’ in 2008. Owl by the Owl Ensemble in 2011 and Arcadia by Unfurl in 2012. She is about to release her next album “Sleeping Giants”, also with Unfurl.