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.”


Award-winning American composer Oliver Caplan writes melodies that nourish our souls, offering a voice of hope in an uncertain world. Inspired by the resiliency of the human spirit and beauty of the natural world, his music celebrates stories of social justice, conservation and community.

Mr. Caplan’s works have been performed in over 125 performances nationwide. He has been commissioned by the Atlanta Chamber Players, Bella Piano Trio, Bronx Arts Ensemble, Brookline Symphony Orchestra, Columbia University Wind Ensemble and New Hampshire Master Chorale, among others. Winner of a Special Citation for the American Prize in Orchestral Composition, additional recognitions include two Veridian Symphony Competition Wins, the Fifth House Ensemble Competition Grand Prize, seven ASCAP Awards, and fellowships at VCCA and the Brush Creek Foundation. Recordings of Mr. Caplan’s music include his 2017 release You Are Not Alone, which has been featured on Apple Music’s Classical A-list, 2012 debut album Illuminations and a track on the Sinfonietta of Riverdale’s 2016 album New World Serenade (Albany Records).

Mr. Caplan is the Artistic Director of Juventas New Music Ensemble. He holds degrees from Dartmouth College and the Boston Conservatory, is a voting member of the Recording Academy, and resides in Medford, Massachusetts.

Work Samples

Krummholz Variations (2016) for flute, clarinet, 2 bassoons, 2 trumpets, 2 trombones. Performed by the Atlanta Chamber Players (recored live, April 17, 2018).

“Krummholz Variations is a tone poem that recalls aspects of life in the alpine zone, expressed through a set of short, connected variations: Dawn, Marmots, Alpine Meadow, Ptarmigan, The Summit, Headwaters, Cloudburst and DuskKrummholz, German for ‘crooked wood,’ are twisted trees that serve as gateways to the alpine zone and mountaintop sentinels. These stunted trees are shaped through constant exposure to severe weather and treasured for their unique deformities. High altitude landscapes are a paradigm for beauty in the face of harshness, filled with moments of joy and serenity that blossom amidst extremes.

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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