Mary Oliver (violin, viola, hardanger fiddle) is a performer whose virtuosity spans the worlds of scored and improvised music. Born in La Jolla, Oliver completed her studies at the University of California, San Diego where she received her Ph.D for her research in the theory and practice of improvised music. Her doctoral thesis, “Constellations in Play,” identified a new kind of creative discipline, which Oliver has pursued with colleagues locally and around the world.
As a soloist, Oliver has performed in numerous international festivals and premiered works by, among others John Cage, Chaya Czernowin, Brian Ferneyhough, Lou Harrison, Joëlle Léandre, George E. Lewis, Liza Lim, Misha Mengelberg, and Iannis Xenakis. She has worked alongside improvising musicians and dancers such as Mark Dresser, Joëlle Léandre, Myra Melford, Alexander von Schlippenbach, and Michael Schumacher.
After relocating to Amsterdam, Oliver became a member of the Instant Composers Pool (ICP) Orkest, and a regular collaborator with dancer/choreographer Michael Schumacher. She has also served on the faculty at the Hogeschool voor het Kunst Utrecht and on the faculty at the Dutch Improv Academy.