James Olsen


‘Brilliantly imaginative’—Tom Service, The Guardian

‘A striking musical imagination’—Paul Driver, The Sunday Times

Composer James Olsen, born in London in 1982, has seen performances of his music by leading international orchestras and ensembles in the UK and continental Europe including the London Symphony Orchestra, the London Sinfonietta, the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Britten Sinfonia, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, the BBC Singers, the Galliard Ensemble, Tête à Tête opera and Minguett Quartet and by, amongst others, George Benjamin, Martyn Brabbins, Nicholas Cleobury, Clio Gould, Dominic Grier, Timothy Henty, Rolf Hind, Gweneth-Ann Jeffers, Simon Lepper, Sarah Leonard, Tim Mead, David Porcelijn, Nicholas Rimmer and Paul Watkins.

He read music at King’s College, Cambridge, where he gained a double starred first, and studied composition with Wolfgang Rihm in Germany and with Julian Anderson, Colin Matthews, Robin Holloway, Michael Finnissy and Adam Gorb in the UK.

He has received commissions from, amongst others, the BBC, the Britten-Pears Foundation, the Britten Sinfonia, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Klangspuren Schwaz, the London Sinfonietta, the London Symphony Orchestra, Tête à Tête opera and Wigmore Hall.

Three commerical recordings of his music have been released, including a recording of Chameleon Concerto, performed by Clio Gould, Rolf Hind and the London Sinfonietta and conducted by David Porcelijn, which was released as part of the London Sinfonietta’s Jerwood Series on NMC. James’s music has been broadcast by BBC Radio 3 in the UK and by DeutschlandRadio Berlin and Kulturradio in Germany.