Obituary: John Oliver, founder of Tanglewood Festival Chorus, 78

Posted on: April 13, 2018

“In his 45-year tenure with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, John Oliver shaped more than 1,000 performances without even being on the stage,” writes Jeremy Eichler in Friday’s (4/13) Boston Globe. “Mr. Oliver founded the BSO’s Tanglewood Festival Chorus in 1970 and led it until his retirement in August 2015…. For the thousands of choristers who worked with him over the years, he was … a galvanizing figure who took an assemblage of musically passionate volunteer singers … and forged one of the most respected symphonic choruses in the country. Mr. Oliver died Wednesday … after a long illness. He was 78…. Outside of the BSO, Mr. Oliver served for a period as conductor of the Framingham Choral Society, and he taught and performed with students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Boston University. In 1977, he founded the John Oliver Chorale…. After pursuing an undergraduate degree at the University of Notre Dame, Mr. Oliver [studied] choral conducting at New England Conservatory … with Lorna Cooke deVaron.… Mr. Oliver’s own top list of memorable performances included Britten’s ‘War Requiem’ with [Seiji] Ozawa at Tanglewood, Elgar’s ‘The Dream of Gerontius’ with [Colin] Davis, and Beethoven’s ‘Missa Solemnis’ with [Leonard] Bernstein.”

Posted April 13, 2018