Nicholas Oliver was born in London. He spent four years at the Purcell School for young musicians before gaining a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music where he studied with Jean Anderson. Postgraduate studies continued at the Royal Northern College of Music with Marjorie Clementi, Martin Roscoe and Ka Kit Tam. He won several prizes at both colleges for solo and chamber music performances including the RAM’s Elsie Cross prize for performance of twentieth century piano music and the Christian Carpenter award for piano accompaniment.
Nicholas won the Young Pianist of the Year Award in 1984 and second prize at the 1991 Dudley International Piano Competition, since when he has been enjoying a successful and varied performing career.
He is particularly active in the field of chamber music and is a frequent performer at music societies and festivals throughout the UK. He has appeared several times at London’s South Bank, the Wigmore Hall and at most of Britain’s major concert halls. A performance of the Elgar Sonata for violin and piano in a Purcell Room recital was acclaimed in The Strad magazine for its “whimsical playing, powerful, serene and grand with immaculate ensemble and balance”. He and cellist Richard May were prize-winners in the inaugural EMI Jacqueline Du Pré competition for cello and piano duos. Following one of their many recitals, a critic for The Times wrote of the Shostakovich Sonata “simply one of the most gripping performances I have heard”.
Nicholas has undertaken concert tours in many European countries and has also performed in the Americas, Australia, Africa and Asia. He has broadcast frequently on radio and released several recordings.
In addition to his performing career, Nicholas is much in demand as a tutor and coach, is an experienced adjudicator and he is an examiner in the UK and internationally for ABRSM. He has taught piano and ensembles at the Junior School of the RNCM where he was also on the accompaniment staff at the senior college. He has been Head of Piano Accompaniment at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester since 2003.
He is also a founder member of The Commonwealth Resounds, an organisation dedicated to promoting music and musicians across the Commonwealth; in that capacity has worked in Africa, Australia, Malta Sri Lanka and the Caribbean, as well as in the UK.
Nicholas was made an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music in 1997 and was elected to the Royal Society of Musicians in 2000.