A passionate musical storyteller, composer-performer Oliver Kwapis (b. 1997) draws inspiration from a variety of music, visual art, and literature in order to create works that are narratively rich and sonically adventurous. Equally inspired by avant-garde opera and Renaissance polyphony, plunderphonics, pop, and musical theater, Kwapis endeavors to find a unique and fresh musical pallet for each of his works.
Kwapis has composed orchestral, chamber, vocal and electronic pieces which have been performed and recorded by a diverse range of ensembles and artists, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic (through the LA Phil’s Composer Fellowship Program), National Children’s Chorus, Wet Ink Ensemble, Calder Quartet, Atlantic Brass Quintet, Jacobs School of Music Concert Orchestra, Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble, and pianist Eric Huebner. His work has been heard at venues such as Walt Disney Concert Hall, Alice Tully Hall, and The Broad Stage (Santa Monica, CA), and has been featured at NSEME, Fresh Inc Festival, June in Buffalo, the Mostly Modern Festival Institute, and the soundSCAPE Composition and Performer Exchange.
Recently, his master’s thesis, Dreams of Flight, was selected as a winner of the 70th annual BMI Student Composer Awards as well as the IU Jacobs School of Music’s New Voices for Orchestra Competition, his solo piano work, Approach to Zion, was selected as a finalist for the 2021 ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Awards, and his string sextet, My Mad Dances, was named as a finalist for Delirium Musicum’s 2019 Call for Scores and received an Honorable Mention from the Boston New Music Initiative’s Fifth Annual Young Composers Competition.
From 2015-2017, Kwapis was a fellow with Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Nancy and Barry Sanders Composer Fellowship Program during which he studied with Sarah Gibson, James Matheson, and A.J. McCaffrey and wrote works for the LA Phil, members of the LA Phil and LA Master Chorale, and the Calder Quartet.
He holds a B.Mus. in Composition from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Stephen Hartke, Jesse Jones and Elizabeth Ogonek and where he was awarded the Walter E. Aschaffenburg Prize, given to a graduating Oberlin Conservatory senior for outstanding music composition. He also holds an M.Mus. in Composition with a Minor in Electronic Music from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music where he studied with P. Q. Phan, David Dzubay, Chi Wang, and John Gibson. He is currently pursuing a D.M.A. in the Performance of Data-driven Instruments at the University of Oregon’s School of Music and Dance under the tutelage of Jeffrey Stolet where he is also a Graduate Employee in the Department of Intermedia Music Technology.