“Herbert’s playing took on deeply moving vocal inflections in extreme ranges, from a low of unusual richness to a delicate high.”
The Philadelphia Inquirer
“His virtuosity and musical instincts were on full display in Edward Elgar’s Cello Concerto in E Minor…Herbert displayed great maturity, always maintaining forward momentum while bringing out the unique character of each movement and its subsections…with an expansive tone, rich and full yet strikingly clear (especially in the upper register), his playing was punctuated by crisp articulation and impressive spiccato, particularly in the final Allegro. Judicious and tasteful use of vibrato allowed his incredible instrument (a 1769 Guadagnini) to project in its natural state.”
San Francisco Classical Voice
“As a highly experienced prize-winning artist, Herbert brings a wonderful youthful exuberance to this work coupled with a highly sophisticated musical expression and outstanding technique in this very challenging concerto. From his opening notes it was immediately apparent that Herbert has a very vocal approach to his playing and regardless of the technical demands he makes his cello sing. “
Santa Cruz Sentinel
Cellist Oliver Herbert is quickly building a reputation as an artist with a distinct voice and individual style, admired by audiences for his communicative and connective performances. The recipient of a 2021 Avery Fisher Career Grant, Oliver has been praised by San Francisco Classical Voice for his “expansive tone, virtuosity, and musical instincts.” Recent appearances include debuts with world renowned ensembles including the San Francisco Symphony, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Warsaw Philharmonic, and Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.
Oliver is equally at home playing well-known works as well as exploring uncharted musical territories. The 2021-22 season marks the beginning of several ambitious projects, including performances of the complete Bach Cello Suites at Capital Region Classical and the complete Beethoven Cello Sonatas at Guarneri Hall in Chicago. Oliver will also be premiering a commissioned work by Chelsea Komschlies for multitrack cello and electronics, as well as exploring the music of Venezuelan composer and cellist Paul Desenne. Concerto highlights for the 2021-22 season include performances with the Buffalo Philharmonic, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, New World Symphony, and Rhode Island Philharmonic—performing works by Barber, Ibert, Saint-Saens, Schumann, and Tchaikovsky.
In June of 2020, Oliver released his debut album with pianist Xiaohui Yang, Frame of Mind: Fauré and Janáček, featuring the two cello and piano sonatas of Gabriel Fauré as well as Leoš Janáček’s Pohádka (Fairy Tale). Oliver’s additional recording highlights include a release of Haydn’s D Major Cello Concerto with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony. Interested in the intersection of visual art and music, Oliver also enjoys working on mixed media and video projects. Recent collaborations in this area include projects with filmmakers Lone Cricket, Mike Grittani, and Mimi Pfahler.
As a chamber musician, Oliver has participated in leading music festivals including Caramoor, ChamberFest Cleveland, Krzyżowa Music, La Jolla Summerfest, Marlboro Music, Music in the Vineyards, Nevada Chamber Music Festival, Ravinia, and Verbier. In the 2021-22 season, Oliver joins violinist Alexi Kenney and pianist Eric Lu for a program of Haydn, Schumann, and Schubert at the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society.
Born in San Francisco, Oliver is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music and the Colburn School where he studied with Carter Brey, Clive Greensmith, and Peter Wiley. Additional mentors include Pamela Frank and Dr. Ford Lallerstedt at the Curtis Institute. His competition awards include top prizes in the Lutoslawski International Cello Competition, Klein Competition, and Stulberg Competition. Oliver currently plays on a Guadagnini cello that belonged to the great Italian cellist Antonio Janigro, on generous loan from the Janigro family.