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Olivia Kieffer

Miami, FL         

Olivia Kieffer is a composer, percussionist, and educator from the United States. A native of Wisconsin, her music has been described as “immediately attractive”, “like a knife of light”, and “honest, to the point, and joyful!”

She presently studies with Lansing McLoskey at the Frost School of Music at University of Miami, where she is pursing a DMA in Music Composition. She is former adjunct music faculty at Reinhardt University (2009 – 2017), where she taught Applied Percussion Lessons and World Music, and directed the Percussion Ensemble. She has degrees in percussion from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music where she studied with Allen Otte and the Percussion Group Cincinnati; and Georgia State University, studying with Stockhausen specialist Stuart Gerber. She studied composition with Jon Welstead at UW – Milwaukee, where she earned a Master’s degree in Music Theory & Composition. She also studies composition independently with Marc Mellits. She feels at home in both the classical and rock worlds, and was an active performer in Atlanta’s vibrant contemporary classical music scene for over a decade, including her work as bandleader and drummer for the 7-piece chamber rock band Clibber Jones Ensemble. She also performed regularly with the Terminus Ensemble and Bent Frequency, and 2015-2017 was co-director of the Reinhardt Contemporary Arts Festival and Atlanta’s SoundNOW Festival, as well as serving on the Music committee at Eyedrum Music & Art Gallery, where she curated the Composer’s Concert Series.

Since 2012, her compositions have been performed both nationally and internationally. She has enjoyed performances by many ensembles and soloists, including the Mana Chamber Players; the A/B Duo; GremlinsDuo; BF Duo; Terminus Ensemble; toy pianists Amy O’DellStacey BarelosDrew DolanRobert FleitzAntonietta Loffredo and Elizabeth A. Baker; percussionists Colleen Phelps and Nathaniel Gworek, pianists Francesco Di Fiore, Marvin RosenAnn Yi, and Anna Sutyagina; the Deuson Pilkington Duo, fivebyfive; Italian chamber ensemble Piccola Accademia Degli Specchi; and many university and community bands. 

Her projects and compositions have been highlighted in Journal for the International Alliance for Women in MusicArtsAtlTomTom Magazine, Wide Circles podcast, NewMusicBox, WABE-FM (90.1)New Music ConflagrationEyedrum Periodicallylistening to ladiesMoving Classics TV, and Music, Polyphony, and Polyrhythm

In 2017 Olivia was Composer in Residence at the Florida International Toy Piano Festival, and the Mana Saxophone Institute. 


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Texture of Activity Video Project

The Texture of Activity Video Project is a bunch of totally boss musicians/ensembles performing their own renditions of pieces from my book of 55 short toy piano solos, “The Texture of Activity”.

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NewMusicBox Articles

Articles July 29 2019 | By Olivia Kieffer
Playing in Time: Chronos, Kairos, Crossfades

In this post I want to talk about time: time in our musical relationships with others, and time in the creative process. I’ll start out with the Greek concepts of...

Articles July 22 2019 | By Olivia Kieffer
Playing the Brake Drum: A very short guide to percussion parts for composers who write for...

I have performed in the percussion section of bands, on and off, since the seventh grade. Over a span of 25+ years, this includes performing in a wide variety of...

Articles July 16 2019 | By Olivia Kieffer
Playing My Hand: How I Learned to Trust My Composition Teacher

"There I was, age 38, in the second year of my master’s degree, finding out for the first time what it was like to have weekly lessons with a supportive,...

See more of Olivia Kieffer's articles on NewMusicBox.