Maestro Hector Olivera is a passionate, gifted, and unique musician, whose personal interpretations of both classical and popular music have amazed and delighted audiences around the world.
The Times Reporter describes an evening with Hector Olivera as: “An event, a happening, a joyful celebration of the sheer power and pressure that a true virtuoso like Hector Olivera can unleash in a concert hall.”
Born in Buenos Aires, Mr. Olivera’s first teacher (who was his father) encouraged him to begin playing the pipe organ when he was three. Two years later, he was appointed organist of the Church of the Immaculate Conception. At age 5, he played for the legendary Eva Perón. At six, he entered the Buenos Aires Conservatory to study harmony, counterpoint and fugue. By age nine, he had composed a suite for oboe and string orchestra, performed by the Buenos Aires Symphony Orchestra.
At age twelve, Mr. Olivera entered the University of Buenos Aires where he studied with Hector Zeoli and Juan Francisco Giacobbe. By eighteen, he had performed more than three hundred concerts throughout Latin America, appearing frequently on Argentinean radio and television. During this time, he also served as the senior improvisational accompanist for the Collegium Musicum in Buenos Aires, vastly increasing his prodigious improvisational talent.
In 1965, New York’s prestigious Juilliard School of Music offered him a scholarship. He immediately moved to the United States to study with Vernon de Tar and Bronson Reagan. Three years later, Mr. Olivera won the National Improvisation Contest sponsored by the American Guild of Organists, thereby launching his outstanding professional concert career.
In 1988, after years of performing in the United States, Maestro Olivera was invited to play once again in Argentina. Upon arriving, he was welcomed as a national hero with “Standing Room Only” concerts attended by celebrities and heads of state, as well as being featured on national radio and television shows.
Throughout his concert career, Mr. Olivera has performed in prestigious venues including the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, Carnegie Hall in New York, Royal Albert Hall in London, Spivey Hall in Atlanta, Constitution Hall in Washington D.C, the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Myerson Concert Hall in Dallas, Verizon Hall in Philadelphia, Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, Sydney Town Hall, Melbourne Town Hall, and Brisbane City Hall in Australia.
In addition to his solo concerts, Mr. Olivera has performed as guest soloist with orchestras worldwide including the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Fort Wayne Symphony, the Dover-New Philadelphia Orchestra, the Dallas Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Amsterdam Baroque Ensemble, the Minnesota Orchestra, and the Pasadena Symphony. Composer Robert Vandall described Mr. Olivera’s performance with the Tuscarawas Philharmonic as “an opportunity to hear and see greatness.”
His collaboration with the Pasadena Symphony produced a “Limited Edition Gold CD” featuring Mr. Olivera in the Saint-Saëns Symphony No. 3.
In 1992, Mr. Olivera was guest artist at the American Guild of Organists’ convention at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta performing the world premiere of a commissioned work written by William Albright. Later, from this same stage, Olivera performed on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion, and according to Keillor, he “literally stopped the show!”
In 1996, in celebration of the Olympic games, Mr. Olivera was given the honor to perform a solo concert at Spivey Hall, Atlanta for which he received multiple standing ovations. The Atlanta Journal Constitution wrote: “Olivera swept the audience with absolute Olympic virtuosity, and that still doesn’t say it … Hector Olivera is in a class by himself.”
In 2000, Mr. Olivera performed a solo memorial concert in New York City’s St. Paul the Apostle as a tribute to his hero, the legendary organist Virgil Fox. He played a subsequent Virgil Fox Memorial Concert at Grace Cathedral, San Francisco in 2004.
In 2002, Mr. Olivera was invited again to perform for the American Guild of Organists’ National Convention, where his transcription of Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite spontaneously brought the large audience of peers to their feet. Again, in 2004, his appearance before the Guild’s National Convention in Los Angeles was considered an historic triumph by 2,200 cheering organists, who gave him four standing ovations in 45 minutes.
By popular demand, Hector Olivera performed regularly at the celebrated Newport Classical Music Festival. The Providence Journal claimed, “Organist Hector Olivera brought the Newport Music Festival to a spectacular close”
By invitation, Mr. Olivera performed a solo concert that was attended by an audience of 5000 at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on August 12, 2007. “Mr. Olivera … sublime improvisations indeed. “ (Olivier Latry, organist Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris)
In 2010, Mr. Olivera’s magnificent recital at the renowned Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles moved an enthusiastic audience to its feet. The Pasadena Star quoted: “Olivera began winsomely but gradually morphed into a gigantic mass of sound with elements of Messiaen, Vierne and others folded in, including a reprise of the Bach Passacaglia and Fugue from the first half. The audience was on its collective feet at the end, deservedly … No encores were played … or needed.”
In 2014, Mr. Olivera received an invitation to perform at the grand Hong Kong Cultural Center Concert Hall, and the magnificent Shenzhen Concert Hall in China.
In 2016, Maestro Olivera toured Australia where he brought the house down at the glorious Sydney Town Hall, the resplendent Melbourne Town Hall, and the stunning Brisbane City Hall, receiving multiple standing ovations, and rave reviews.
Mr. Olivera performed an unprecedented third recital at the prestigious Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles in 2018.
Mr. Olivera continues to thrill audiences with both solo classical and orchestral compositions, now released on DVD and more than 20 classical, contemporary, and film score recordings.
Most famous for his prodigious technical proficiency and charismatic stage presence, Mr. Olivera’s amazing effect on audiences has made many of the most sophisticated and demanding organ aficionados claim that Maestro Hector Olivera is “one of the greatest organists in the world today."