Hamish Oliver - Composer Hamish Oliver - Composer

Current/Recent projects

Composition for TV/Film/Theatre/Games

A real creative highlight of my year has been making video-game-style music and sound for "Hamlet: The Video Game (The Stage Show)" which was part of the 2015 Christchurch Arts Festival. I started looking forward to this project several months before I was asked to do it... It's part improvised, part scripted, so the music has to be adaptive, just like in video games themselves. I was onstage improvising, with lots of technology, in a Shakespearean minstrel costume... The script was written and directed by Simon Peacock (the Voice Director of Assassins Creed; Voice & Motion Capture Director of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided). It featured the amazing acting and improv skills of The Court Jesters..

Dan Bain's fantastic play "Cat vs Dog", which I did composition and sound design for, got nominated for the "Best Touring Production" award at Dunedin's Fortune Theatre.

In early 2014 I did sound design and QLab implementation for "MAMIL" (Middle-Aged Man In Lycra for those perhaps outside of the cycling community who don't know this acronym), a one-man play starring Mark Hadlow and masterfully written by Greg Cooper. "MAMIL" has had Auckland and Wellington seasons so far.

In 2014, I created several epic ghoulish orchestral cues for an iOS game; "Zombeeze" for Desolate Spectre Studios along with my fellow co-composer Vahid Qualls.

Also in 2014 I did the sound design and composition for the cheerful 8-bit-esque iPad game "Snapple".

In February 2013 I created the music and sound design for the Court Theatre's production of "August:Osage County", which I think could be the best play I've ever been involved in. Every aspect of the production was fantastic. I had a lot of fun routing audio to speakers placed in different parts of the set AND writing some atmospheric dobro music with the talented Harry Harrison.

In 2012 I wrote and produced the theme and all other music for the 13-episode Whitebait Productions' "Hearts And Crafts" show. It's a show "celebrating Kiwis' appetite and passion for handmade crafts". Episodes are available on demand here for those living in New Zealand.

Here's the Nikon HD Video Showcase - four beautifully-shot video clips that I was commissioned to compose and produce music for Nikon Asia in 2010 and 2011. Thanks to Mike Fudakowski (bass and co-writer of "Coffee"), Mike Ferrar and Harry Harrison (guitars) and Laura Tomlin (vocals). And thanks also to the amazing guys at Nomadic Planet for the chance to work on their beautiful footage.

I was proud to be part of the Loons Circus Theatre Company as composer/sound designer/musician for "Macbeth". The rubble of demolished buildings in Lyttelton created a fantastic opportunity to have a suitably ravaged and even post-apocalyptic feel for our version. And my duduk playing is slowly getting better and better...

Other miscellaneous things

It was very nice to get a complimentary email from NZ music legend Tim Finn. I had done two re-inventions of I See Red - a Piaf-like voice and accordion version and a punk-ish Flying Nun version, both sung in French and named "Je Vois Rouge" - and Tim said such things as; "A very enjoyable interpretation", "Well done", and "That was probably the oddest thing so far today."

The big news of recent times is the completion of Rosie Roulette's album "Racing The Dark" which I produced, arranged and engineered. Her music is fantastic, it's been a real highlight of the last year working on this project. The album was released in Melbourne on February 28 2015 and is available physically and digitally from Bandcamp, also from iTunes, CD Baby, etc

The OSTAs (Otago Southland Theatre Awards) gave me a nomination for "Best Musical Direction" for "Jesus Christ Superstar" that I musically directed for Showbiz Queenstown in May 2014.

I was pleased with my arrangements for an unusual Christchurch Symphony Orchestra 'pop-up' performance in the Christchurch Airport departure hall. We teamed up just a few days before Christmas with Moorhouse to perform "Silent Night" and "All I Want For Christmas" . Always good to get a Rite Of Spring quote into a song made famous by Mariah Carey.

I was MD, arranger and performer for "NZ Rocks", another hilarious production of the Outwits. It was a celebration of New Zealand music. I arranged the opening song for performance by the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra in "Classical Sparks".

The Adults did another performance similar to the one we did with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra. It was with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra (January 30, 2014, Aotea Centre in Auckland). My two arrangements ("Short Change" and "Up & Gone") along with the utterly fantastic arrangements of Claire Cowan, Steve Small, and Steve Bremner got another airing. Here's the live album of the Adults / CSO concert, and here's a video of Steve Small's arrangement of "Anniversary Day" from that concert (me on piano).

In August and September 2013 I was musical director for the world premiere of "The Great Art War", a new musical by Philip Norman and Stuart Hoar, at the Court Theatre. Intriguing subject matter, talented cast and fellow violin muso Juno Pyun.

I was 'fixer' and keyboard player on Elaine Paige's 2012 NZ / Australia / China / Singapore tour. It was great to see some of the same UK team from the 2009 tour, spend some quality time in Shanghai (after some cancellations due to the government choosing a new leader), hang out with Danny Troob (who did a few arrangements), hang out with Kris Phillips (Fei Xiang) , and play some top quality Chris Egan arrangements with some talented NZ friends.

My orchestral arrangement of the NZ classic, Hello Sailor's "Gutter Black" was well-received in mid-2013, and beatifully performed with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra by the divine pairing of L.A. Mitchell and Anika Moa.

Hamish Oliver - Composer