Olivia Tomasović

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Tell us a little bit about yourself and your life. Not necessarily music-related!

I was born in Zagreb in Croatia but grew up in a small fishing town on the Dalmatian coast. It is a mountainous area and perhaps because of this I love hill walking and exploring wild spaces. Both my parents are artists, so I have always been surrounded with a dose of organised and colourful chaos. Music fits into this perfectly.

How did you first get into music?

When I was at primary school, my oboe teacher took me to the Croatian National Theatre in Split, Croatia where she played. Coming in through the musicians’ entrance I sat in the box just above the orchestra pit. The performance was Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake and it changed my life. When she started playing tears welled up in my eyes. It was as if my life at that moment had been rewritten – I knew that I had to play the oboe and to play in an orchestra.

What made you decide that music would be an important part of your life?

The universal language of music has shown me how prejudices and stereotypes can be broken. Coming from a post-war country I have seen how music can help to heal communities and build bridges when words fail.

What has been your musical highlight so far?

There have been so many highlights and special moments that it’s hard to single one out. Perhaps the time I played my first symphony – Shostakovich Symphony #5 – the experience blew me away.

Who are your favourite composers/artists/musicians?

Ludwig van Beethoven, G.P. Telemann, Ennio Morricone, Frigyes Hidas, John Williams, Igor Stravinsky, D. Shostakovich, W. A. Mozart, Tchaikovsky.

What do you anticipate for the Nevis Ensemble?

I am looking forward to the opportunity to learn how to take orchestral music into inclusive and unpredictable spaces, making it more publicly accessible and fun.