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Juan Gabriel Olivares

Juan Gabriel Olivares
Juan Gabriel Olivares headshot
  • Faculty, The Glenn Gould School


Theory & History

Juan Gabriel Olivares is a musician, researcher, educator, and co-founder of NewArt/NewMedia, a collective of Canadian artists committed to interdisciplinary collaboration. Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, his musical explorations have taken him across the Caribbean and North America from the southern United States to Canada.

NewArt/NewMedia is at the center of Juan’s creative output. Initially founded as a hub for interdisciplinary initiatives, it has quickly evolved as a medium for live and digital productions. Currently entering its third season, the goal of NewArt/NewMedia is to disseminate ‘digital shorts’ exploring new musical composition in juxtaposition with dance, visual, and theatrical commissions.

As an orchestral clarinetist, he has performed as principal with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Ontario Philharmonic Orchestra, and Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, and has performed with conductors and soloists such as Renée Fleming, Leonard Slatkin, Peter Oundjian, Robert Spano, Zubin Mehta, David Zinman, Sir Andrew Davis, and Riccardo Muti. As a soloist, he was recently a guest artist at the Newport Jazz Festival and was featured in the Canadian Opera Company’s production of Le Rossignol.

Juan is also an active performer of contemporary classical music and has worked closely with composers such as Kaija Saariaho, Matthias Pintscher, Stefano Gervasoni, Osvaldo Golijov, Beat Furrer, Helen Grime, and Salvatore Sciarrino. Recently, he recorded Pintscher’s Verzeichnete Spur with Ensemble InterContemporain in Paris, France, and was nominated for a JUNO award with Against the Grain Theatre. He has toured Canada with Thin Edge New Music Collective, premiered over 30 new works as a member of the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, and performed at the Klangspuren Festival in Austria hosted by Ensemble Modern. He recently joined the F-PLUS trio, a group that has toured the United States and commissioned works by composers like Jesse Montgomery and George Tsontakis.

He began his musical career in jazz, folk, and improvised music in Miami, Florida, and later studied classical music formally at the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory of Music. While he was in Houston completing his master’s degree at Rice University, he was the music curator for the Rice Art Gallery and toured to the Dominican Republic as soloist and clinician of the Festival Clarinetissimo. His love for contemporary music led him to a Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of Toronto where his research articulated the intersection between contemporary classical music and entrepreneurship. He co-directed the Contemporary Music Ensemble at the Faculty of Music and taught clarinet pedagogy.

Juan is a Légère Artist and currently performs on Buffet-Crampon clarinets.