Olivia Kieffer is an American composer, percussionist, and educator based in Milwaukee, WI. She is former adjunct music faculty at Reinhardt University (2009 – 2017), where she taught Applied Percussion Lessons and World Music, and directed the Percussion Ensemble. She has degrees in percussion from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music where she studied with Allen Otte and the Percussion Group Cincinnati; and Georgia State University, studying with Stockhausen specialist Stuart Gerber. She currently studies composition with Marc Mellits independently, and with Jon Welstead at University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, where she is earning a Master’s degree in Music Theory & Composition.
She feels at home in both the classical and rock worlds, and was an active performer in Atlanta’s vibrant contemporary classical music scene for over a decade, including her work as bandleader and drummer for the 7-piece chamber rock band Clibber Jones Ensemble. She is a long-time member of the Chix With Stix Percussion Group, and was timpanist for the Ludwig Symphony Orchestra. She also performed regularly with the Terminus Ensemble and Bent Frequency, and 2015-2017 was co-director of the Reinhardt Contemporary Arts Festival and Atlanta’s SoundNOW Festival, as well as serving on the Music committee at Eyedrum Music & Art Gallery, where she curated the Composer’s Concert Series.
Olivia has created arrangements of minimalist/postminimalist piano and chamber ensemble works for a variety of mediums, by composers William Susman, Douwe Eisenga, Marc Mellits, and Philip Glass. Her music has been arranged by William Susman, Austin Murphy, Francesco Di Fiore, Nicolas Deuson, and many soloists and ensembles who are a part of the Texture of Activity Video Project. She enjoys performing the music of living composers as often as possible!
Since 2012, her compositions have been performed both nationally and internationally. She has enjoyed performances by many ensembles and soloists, including the Mana Chamber Players; the A/B Duo; GremlinsDuo; BF Duo; Terminus Ensemble; toy pianists Amy O’Dell, Stacey Barelos, Drew Dolan, Robert Fleitz, Antonietta Loffredo and Elizabeth A. Baker; percussionists Colleen Phelps and Nathaniel Gworek, pianists Francesco Di Fiore and Marvin Rosen, the Deuson Pilkington Duo, Italian chamber ensemble Piccola Accademia Degli Specchi, and many university and community bands.
Her projects and compositions have been highlighted in Journal for the International Alliance for Women in Music, ArtsAtl, TomTom Magazine, the Atlanta Creative Music podcast, the A/B Duo blog, WABE-FM (90.1), New Music Conflagration, Eyedrum Periodically, listening to ladies, and Music, Polyphony, and Polyrhythm.
In 2017 Olivia was Composer in Residence at the Florida International Toy Piano Festival, and the Mana Saxophone Institute. 2018 projects include “From Your Mouth to God’s Ear” (for Ann Yi; piano/toy piano with electronics), “Pop Rock in Metal” (for a consortium of saxophone quartets), “Shorts” (for string quartet), and “My Children Move Like Water” (for tenor and guitar). Most recently, Olivia was commissioned to write for the Mid America Freedom Band.