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Creativity, narrative and honesty are integral elements to every musical choice Olivia Murphy makes as a composer, conductor and improviser and she is quickly establishing herself as an exciting voice on the British Jazz Scene. After receiving the 2021 Help Musicians’ Peter Whittingham Development Award, Olivia was able to establish a jazz orchestra under her own name creating her debut big band EP Somewhere Not So Far Away, recording live on Birmingham’s Symphony Hall Stage. In 2023, the orchestra returned for sold out performances at The Vortex Jazz Club and B:Jazz Festival. The orchestra features improvisers from both Birmingham and London jazz scenes, fusing large ensemble free improvisation and through written material with story telling at its core.

 

Her Moonrise trio, featuring Olivia on clarinet/ soprano saxophone and long term collaborators Becca Wilkins (voice) and Olly Chalk (piano), is a vehicle to explore smaller scaler compositions, open improvisation and song writing. Upon winning the Jazzlife Alliance Young Composer Award in 2021, the trio was able to record their self-titled EP Moonrise, released on David Lyttle’s Lyte Records in 2022.

 

Olivia’s most recent work Europa, developed through her time at the Alternative Conservatoire premiered at Shoreditch’s Rich Mix in May 2024. The piece, inspired by forgotten women of Greek mythology, explored the use of an improvising vocal chorus alongside a large ensemble of clarinet, bass clarinet, violin, cello, harp, jazz guitar, double bass and percussion.

 

Olivia was the composer in residence for the National Youth Jazz Orchestra (2020-2022) and during this time embarked on a 22 date UK tour, directing the Big Band through her arrangements of NYJO alumnus Amy Winehouse’s songs. Olivia now enjoys working with NYJO as a Resident Musical Director and educator.

Over the last few years, Olivia has also been commissioned by Sonorite Saxophone Quartet, The University of Birmingham Jazz Orchestra, Around The Houses Festival and Stoney Lane Records and recently had her first US performance of her work for solo vibraphone Four by American percussionist Hannah Weaver.

"etherial... rich in detail" Jazzwise Magazine

“her arrangements bring to mind Gil Evans, elsewhere… are reminiscent of Maria Schneider, wistful and moody…. clearly a name to watch out for” UK Jazz News

 

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Commissions

Before The Wild Hurricane (8 minutes) - Sonorite Saxophone Quartet. December 2023.

 

The Time Has Come (Mike Gibbs arr. Olivia Murphy) (7 minutes) - Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. Performed at Eastside Jazz Club, Birmingham. December 2022.

 

The Air We Breathe (75 minutes) - University of Birmingham Jazz Orchestra. Performed at the Elgar Hall, Bramall Building, Birmingham. September 2021.

 

Tomorrow Songs (20 minutes) - Stoney Lane Records & Around The Houses Festival. (Soprano Saxophone, Voice, Piano). Online Premiere via Jazzwise in August 2020

 

There Is A Hill (5 minutes) - National Youth Jazz Orchestra. Recorded in isolation for NYJO education programme

 

Eucalyptus Trees (20 minutes) - IMPASTO (String Quartet, Harp, Soprano Saxophone, Voice, Piano, Bass, Drums). Performed at the LAB, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, March 2020.

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