Oliver Caplan

Photo: Gabriel Miller.

Based in Medford, MA
Website: www.olivercaplan.com

“In my music, the geographies of people, places and ideas intertwine to become tales of transformation. From nature to world affairs, recent compositions have included works inspired by Jane Goodall, Frederick Law Olmsted, and the landscapes of New England. My goal as a composer is to create an emotional journey for audience members and connect them to music’s incredible ability to touch something deeply human inside of us, a place that words do not always reach.”


With memorable melodies and colorful interplay, composer Oliver Caplan’s music expresses a deeply felt romanticism. Mr. Caplan’s music has been presented in over 100 public performances in 12 states, including the Nebraska Chamber Players, North/South Consonance, Trio Veritas and Schola Cantorum of Boston. He has been commissioned by the Atlanta Chamber Players, Bronx Arts Ensemble, Bella Piano Trio, Columbia University Wind Ensemble, Brookline Symphony Orchestra, Juventas New Music Ensemble and El Sistema Somerville, among others. Accolades include Veridian Symphony Orchestra Composers Competition Wins (2016, 2014), Virginia Center for the Creative Arts Fellowships (2016, 2013, 2011), a Special Citation for the American Prize in Orchestral Composition (2015), Somerville Arts Council Grants (2014, 2013), and the Fifth House Ensemble Young Composer Competition Grand Prize (2010).

Mr. Caplan (b. 1982) was raised in the Bronx, New York. He studied Music and Geography at Dartmouth College (B.A. 2004) and Composition at the Boston Conservatory (M.M. 2006). His composition teachers include Dalit Warshaw, Dana Brayton and Charles Dodge. Mr. Caplan currently resides in Medford, Massachusetts. An avid hiker, he finds inspiration through time outdoors.

Work Samples

Lunastella Fuga (2012) for string orchestra. Adam Klemens, Conductor.

“Large constellations catch the eye first – Orion, Ursa Major, Aquarius – but their constituent triangles and squares are echoed infinitely, a giant fractal, incessantly permeating the firmament. We are drawn to the art of mimicry, and for composers, the fugue is its playground. Fugue is a compositional technique built on a melodic theme, first introduced in a single voice (in this piece, the cellos) and then spiraled throughout the other voices of the ensemble. The theme thrusts forward, transforming as it weaves amidst the voices – augmented, diminished, transposed to other pitches,and soon the fugue theme seems to be heard everywhere, an astral echo of music in the air.”

My Elephant Cloud (2011) for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano. Performed by Juventas New Music Ensemble.

“The melodies for this piece were sketched amidst the heat of August in New England. Summer affords many vantage points from which to pursue the wondrous sport of cloud watching: the tranquil waters of Walden Pond, alpine meadows of the White Mountains, and soft sands of Crane Beach. Here is some music from those lazy days.”

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