“Oliver Herbert was the soloist, and he was a knockout. His technical command, full-throated but never indulgent tone, crisp yet expressive phrasing, and tactful use of vibrato flowed together.The audience adored him Thursday. A star, it seemed, was found and embraced.”
-San Francisco Classical Voice
Oliver Herbert is a concert cellist with a rapidly growing international presence. The recipient of a 2021 Avery Fisher Career Grant, Oliver’s natural musicianship and connective performances are carving a unique path in the world of music.
As a soloist, Oliver has appeared with world renowned orchestras including the San Francisco Symphony and Chicago Symphony Orchestra, working with conductors such as Michael Tilson Thomas, Juanjo Mena, and Alexander Shelley. His work is fueled by a passion for music ranging from past centuries to the present, with concerto performances spotlighting works from C.P.E. Bach to Haydn, Schumann, Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, Ibert, Elgar, Barber, Shostakovich, Schnittke, Lutoslawski, and Vasks, among others.
Working closely with composers, Oliver has commissioned several works including a new solo cello piece by Chelsea Komschlies as well as Andrew Moses’ Ecstatic Immanence for cello, percussion, and electronics which was recently premiered at the 2023 TICA Festival, Hong Kong. At the 2023 Kronberg Festival, Oliver gave the world premiere of Žibuoklė Martinaitytė’s new solo cello work, Spiral Spins. In recent seasons, his projects have included performances of the complete Bach Cello Suites at Capital Region Classical and the complete Beethoven Cello Sonatas at Guarneri Hall in Chicago.
"Herbert's playing took on deeply moving vocal inflections in extreme ranges, from a low of unusual richness to a delicate high.”
Oliver’s recital engagements have brought him across the United States to venues such as the Ravinia Festival and Kravis Center, as well as on tour to Greece, Germany, Switzerland, and Hong Kong. His programs are known for combining beloved with lesser known works, contextualizing them with equal advocacy and commitment.
Oliver appears regularly at leading chamber music festivals and venues such as the Rheingau Festival, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Marlboro, La Jolla SummerFest, Verbier Festival, ChamberFest Cleveland, 92nd Street Y, and the Ravinia Festival. He has performed with luminaries such as Mitsuko Uchida and Tabea Zimmermann.
Oliver’s recordings include a release of Haydn’s D Major Concerto with the San Francisco Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas by Warner Classics as part of highlights of MTT’s final season as music director. In June of 2020, Oliver released his debut album with pianist Xiaohui Yang, Frame of Mind: Fauré and Janáček, featuring the two cello and piano sonatas of Gabriel Fauré, as well as Leoš Janáček’s Pohádka (Fairy Tale).
Oliver is the recipient of the 2017 Verbier Festival’s Jean-Nicolas Firmenich Prize, as well as top prizes in the Lutoslawski International Cello Competition, Klein Competition, and Stulberg Competition. He has been featured on PBS’s Now Hear This, NPR’s From the Top, the popular online interview series, Living the Classical Life, and more.
Oliver is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music and the Colburn School, where he studied with Carter Brey, Pamela Frank, Clive Greensmith, and Peter Wiley. He is now a student of Frans Helmerson in the professional studies program at the Kronberg Academy, generously funded by the Nanno Lenz patronage. He plays on a Guadagnini cello that belonged to the great Italian cellist Antonio Janigro, on generous loan from the Janigro family.
Debut Album out now!
Oliver Herbert and Xiaohui Yang’s recording of the cello sonatas by Gabriel Fauré and Leoš Janáček’s Pohádka (Fairy Tale) has arrived. This marks Oliver's recording debut, an ambitious independent project in collaboration with audio engineer Drew Schlegel, producer Ronaldo Rolim, and visual artist Jeong Im Yi, creator of the original artwork for the album cover.