Innovation, exploration, and collaboration are at the core of bassoonist Olivia Palmer-Baker’s activity. Across the spectrum of her pursuits - from historical performance to experimental improvisaton – she wishes to discover new sonic possibilities, enable new musical and performative concepts to crystallise, and to create meaningful artistic experiences.
As a contemporary performer, Olivia is sought after: She has played with ensembles including the Lucerne Festival Contemporary Orchestra, Schwelbrand Orchestra Berlin, Ulysses Ensemble, and alongside Ensemble InterContemporain and London Sinfonietta, and has performed in festivals such as Klangspuren Schwaz, Aldeburgh Festival, Fextival Mixtur, Donaueschinger Musiktage, MusikFest Berlin, and Manifeste Paris. She performs as bassoonist of the BCMG NEXT Course, was a finalist in NonClassical Battle of the Bands with 4|12 Ensemble, and a former Featured Young Artist of the HardRain SoloistEnsemble.
As a soloist, Olivia has recently collaborated with composers Lara Poe for the solo commission ‘A Pocket-Watch’ as part of RÊVE ‘DREAMing Romantic Europe’, Arnau Brichs for a collaboration mostly made in Lockdown toward the piece ‘Detective Silence’ for bassoon and electronics, premiered at the Royal Academy of Music in 2020, and performed again in the 2021 Divertimento Ensemble season as a soloist, and with José del Avellanal for the electroacoustic piece ‘A landscape for Olivia’, which harnesses and develops upon the extended acoustic possibilities of the bassoon. She has also improvised as a soloist at the launch of composer Alex Hill’s album ‘Outsidein’, as well as in online collaborations between PRISM Ensemble and guest artists, in collaboration with the Thinking Minds Project, with notable improvisers Zeena Parkins and Melinda Maxwell, and in the Exploratorium Berlin alongside Matthias Schwabe.
Olivia is currently a student at the UDK Berlin, where she is the first bassoonist ever to study joint modern and period intruments, with Eckart Hübner, Veikko Braeme and Christian Beuse. She is very grateful to be supported by the Neil Black Award from the Countess of Munster, the Wiseman Prize from the James Caird Travelling Scholarship, and the Wolfson Foundation.