Aidan Oliver is one of the UK’s most sought-after chorus directors. His work encompasses the full spectrum of symphonic and operatic preparation at the highest levels, and his relationships include many of the country’s leading conductors, festivals, orchestras and opera companies. He also pursues an increasingly wide-ranging career as a conductor in his own right.
As Chorus Director of Glyndebourne Opera he is responsible for nurturing the internationally-renowned Glyndebourne Chorus, admired as one of the principal training grounds for the next generation of operatic talent in the UK. Recent critical successes on which he has collaborated include Ethel Smyth The Wreckers directed by Melly Still, Poulenc Les Dialogues des Carmélites directed by Barry Koskie, and Poulenc Les Mamelles de Tirésias directed by Laurent Pelly. The latter won the International Opera Award for Best New Production (worldwide) in 2022.
Between 2018 and 2023 Aidan Oliver was Director of the Edinburgh Festival Chorus, the resident chorus of the Edinburgh International Festival. During this time he prepared the chorus for a string of major symphonic performances with conductors including Andrew Davis, Daniel Harding, Simon Rattle, Karina Canellakis, Martyn Brabbins, and Donald Runnicles. Under his direction the Festival Chorus won consistently outstanding critical acclaim, with a Daily Telegraph review in 2022 stating that the chorus ‘seemed once again simply the best choral society in the country’.
As a guest director he has worked with choirs including the BBC Symphony Chorus, BBC Singers, London Symphony Chorus, London Philharmonic Chorus, Huddersfield Choral Society, and Eric Whitacre Singers, as well as the RIAS Kammerchor and Rundfunkchor in Berlin.
For 20 years he has enjoyed a particularly strong relationship with the Philharmonia Orchestra through his work with Philharmonia Voices, the professional chorus that he founded in 2004 to work with the orchestra on its most demanding choral-orchestral projects. These have included everything from Mahler symphony cycles and Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder to 20th-century operatic semi-stagings and major premières of works by George Benjamin, Unsuk Chin, Magnus Lindberg, and Joby Talbot, working extensively with conductors including Esa-Pekka Salonen, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Jakub Hrůša, Richard Hickox, Christoph von Dohnányi and John Wilson. Salonen, the Philharmonia’s Conductor Laureate, has described Aidan in interview as ‘one of my most valued collaborators on the planet’.
Aidan’s previous roles have included Director of Music at St Margaret’s Westminster, the Parliamentary Church, where he worked closely with organist Thomas Trotter, and Associate Conductor of the St Endellion Festival in Cornwall. A highly experienced opera specialist, Aidan Oliver has worked on the music staff of the Royal Opera House and English National Opera, and for Glyndebourne his role increasingly embraces his varied skills as a compelling presenter, educator and conductor.