Betty Olivero is a contemporary Israeli composer, who has lived during most of her career in Florence, Italy.

She studied at the Rubin Academy of Music, at Tel Aviv University and Bar-Ilan University with Itzhak Sadai and Leon Shidlowsky, and at Yale University where her teachers included Jacob Druckman and Bernard Rands. In 1982 a Leonard Bernstein Scholarship enabled her to work at Tanglewood with Luciano Berio, with whom she continued to study in Italy (1983-86).

In Olivero's works, traditional and ethnic music materials are processed using western contemporary compositional techniques; traditional melodies and texts undergo processes of development, adaptation, transformation, assimilation, resetting and re-composition, to the point of assuming new forms in different contexts. These processes touch on wide and complex areas of contrast, such as east and west, holy and secular, traditional and new.

Olivero was awarded the Fromm Award by the Fromm Music Foundation (USA, 1986), the Koussevitzky Award by the Koussevitzky Music Foundation (USA, 2000), the Prime Minister's Prize (Israel, 2001), the Rosenblum Award for the Performing Arts (Israel, 2003), the Landau Award for the Performing Arts (Israel, 2004) and the ACUM prize for Life Achievements (Israel, 2004).

Olivero is currently living in Israel. She is a mother of two children and an associate professor of composition at the Music Department in Bar-Ilan University. Between 2004-2008 Olivero was composer-in-residence for the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra.


Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory | October 18, 2015
Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory | March 6, 2010

News and Press

[Concert Review] What's new

The timely highlight of Gil Rose’s latest BMOP (Boston Modern Orchestra Project) concert, “Strings Attached,” was a new/old piece (2004, revised 2009) for two string orchestras by Scott Wheeler now called Crazy Weather — the new title taken from a John Ashbery poem that begins, “It’s this crazy weather we’ve been having.” Thunderous snaps of antiphonal bass strings set off pizzicato raindrops that turn into Allegro sheets of musical rain. Of course, it’s an emotional landscape, as the exquisite Adagio makes even clearer.

The Boston Phoenix Full review
[Concert Review] The hidden life of strings

The string section is a staple of any orchestra: The largest of the instrumental sections, the strings are the most prominently displayed. Strings are usually the most constant factor in any orchestral score, while woodwinds, brass, percussion are the variables. Perhaps it is ironic that the fate of the string section is to play some of the least sonically interesting parts. Strings are often consigned to betraying their vast range of timbre and tone color to complement and support more strident colors of other sections of the orchestra.

The Tech Full review
[Concert Review] String theory

I was feeling a little, well, strung out this weekend (having seen both Itzhak Perlman and the Artemis String Quartet), so perhaps I simply wasn’t in the mood for “Strings Attached,” the latest concert by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (last Saturday at Jordan Hall). Or then again, maybe the concert was simply as mixed a bag as it seemed. At any rate, it proved a rather rambling evening, with perhaps no very deep lows, but only one real high.

The Hub Review Full review
[Concert Review] Strung out: BMOP's "Strings Attached"

As the BMOP nears the close of its season, Boston lowbrow was treated to—in keeping with the “instrumental” theme of their programming this year—a concert of string music with the paronomastic title “Strings Attached.” Saturday night started with Stained Glass (2009), a brand new short and accessible piece by NEC grad student Nathan Ball—a smooth start to the night with its passages of shuddering violins and folky vibrato.

Boston lowbrow Full review
[Concert Review] For Modern Orchestra, strings tie it all together

It was probably the touchy economy, in part, that inspired Gil Rose and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project to build concerts this season around subsections of the orchestra rather than the full group; on Saturday, it was works for strings. And the orchestra’s most homogeneous group, its lyricism and opulence self-reinforcing, made for pretty classy thrift.

The Boston Globe Full review
[Concert Review] Boston Modern Orchestra Project: Strings Attached

The Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP) presented its third full concert of the season at Jordan Hall on Saturday night, March 6, exclusively featuring the strings in an extensive, fairly eclectic program of music for string orchestra. The program, tagged “Strings Attached” was the counterpart to BMOP’s prior concert in January featuring music exclusively for winds. The pieces performed included two monuments of the 20th-century canon, Bartók’s Divertimento and Babbitt’s Correspondences for string orchestra and synthesized tape.

The Boston Musical Intelligencer Full review
[Concert Review] A musical celebration of Israel's 60th anniversary

The Boston Modern Orchestra Project and director Gil Rose have cultivated a fascinating niche: aural snapshots of particular countries or national traditions. The past couple of seasons witnessed programs spotlighting France and Armenia; on Sunday, a concert sponsored by Combined Jewish Philanthropies and the Judaica Division of the Harvard College Library celebrated Israel’s 60th anniversary.

The Boston Globe Full review
[Concert Review] BMOP celebrates Israel at 60

The Boston Modern Orchestra Project performed alongside guest artist Kenneth Radnofsky to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Israel’s independence at Sanders Theatre on Sunday evening.

The concert, “Israel at 60: Six Decades of Innovative Music,” marked the world premiere of Israeli composer Betty Olivero’s composition Kri’ot, the first piece of Israeli classical music to join a solo saxophone—played by Radnofsky—and a string quartet. Oliveros’s premiere received a five-minute standing ovation from the audience.

The Harvard Crimson Full review
[Concert Review] Celebrating the music of Israel

Sunday marks the 60th anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel. It is a date of obvious and deep importance, especially in the realms of politics and religion.

The Boston Globe Full review