Today we’d like to introduce you to Oliver Caplan.
Oliver, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I am a contemporary classical music composer, which might sound like an oxymoron, but yes, there are living composers writing in the classical tradition. I compose music for everything from chamber ensembles to orchestra, concert bands and choruses. I’m also the Artistic Director of Juventas New Music Ensemble, a contemporary music group with a special focus on emerging composers and the millennial generation. I curate our programming, and manage the strategic direction and administration of our organization.
My musical story begins, I suppose, at age 5, when I started taking piano lessons. While I played all the time, I rarely “practiced.” Instead of working on the Bach and Mozart my teacher assigned, I found myself spending hours-upon-hours playing freely, technically “improvising,” but I didn’t know that term then. Eventually I began setting some of my themes into pieces, which I memorized, because I didn’t know how to notate my ideas yet. At the time, I probably seemed like my teacher’s least serious student, but in hindsight, there I was becoming a young composer!
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
In my music, the geographies of people, places and ideas intertwine to become tales of transformation. From nature to world affairs, recent compositions have included works commemorating the legacy of Frederick Law Olmsted, the Boston Marathon bombings, and the stories of breast cancer survivors. My goal as a composer is to create an emotional journey for audience members and connect them to music’s incredible ability to touch something deeply human inside of us, a place that words do not always reach.
What do you think it takes to be successful as an artist?
As a lifelong music geek, I know how powerful it can feel attend a concert and feel like the music has changed some small fiber of my being. If my compositions could gift that forward to just one person in my lifetime, all the hard work would be worth it.
The New Hampshire Master Chorale recently commissioned me to write a new piece for chorus and orchestra entitled We Exist, with powerful lyrics by author Naseem Rakha that speak to racism, xenophobia, sexism and homophobia. The piece affirms the dignity of all people of all races, faiths and genders. It asks each of us to do our part in making our community a more loving place. The New Hampshire Master Chorale premiered it this June, and at all three performances, audience members came up to me in tears, complete strangers hugging each other. A lot of people have deep concerns about recent trends in our country and I was so grateful for the opportunity to offer an outlet for community dialogue and healing. The works of classical masters, such as Beethoven, are amongst the greatest human achievements and I think they will continue to resonate for many centuries to come. However, their writing style was vernacular to their time and a product of their world. One thing I offer that’s different, is that my music reflects and speaks directly to the world we live in today.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
My music is available on five albums, including my own 2017 release You Are Not Alone and the renowned Trio Siciliano’s recent 2018 release, Exploring Music. Listen to samples on my website at http://www.olivercaplan.com/music.html
Ensembles also perform my music live around the country. You can view the most up-to-date list on my website at http://www.olivercaplan.com/performances.html.
- Website: www.olivercaplan.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OliverCaplanMusic
Oliver composing in Walden Pond: Gabriel Miller
Oliver composing at piano: Russ Anderson
Oliver composing in grass: Russ Anderson
Manuscript Paper & paper crane: Zev Hoover
Manuscript paper w/ spiral binding: Oliver Caplan