Portrait of Joao Pedro Oliveira
Photo Credit
Debra Herrick
"It is definitely a very special highlight in my composition career," said João Pedro Oliveira on receiving an award from the Guggenheim Foundation.

Composer João Pedro Oliveira is awarded a Guggenheim

Corwin Chair of Composition João Pedro Oliveira has been awarded a Guggenheim fellowship in music composition. The UC Santa Barbara professor joins a select group of scientists, scholars and artists chosen annually from across dozens of fields of study. Oliveira’s music includes opera, orchestral compositions, chamber music, electroacoustic music and experimental video. As a composer and an academic, he has explored the relationship between research, technology and composition. 

“All of us at UC Santa Barbara are fortunate to have a colleague of such talent and expertise in our Music Department,” said Chancellor Henry Yang. “We take great pride in Professor Oliveira’s selection as a 2023 Guggenheim Fellow. This prestigious fellowship honors his exceptional contributions to and creativity in music and composition, and we are thrilled that this grant affords him the opportunity to further his impact on the arts.” 

“I feel so honored and happy to be one of the 2023 Guggenheim Fellows,” Oliveira said. “It is definitely a very special highlight in my composition career.”

Originally from Portugal, Oliveira studied organ performance, composition and architecture in Lisbon, before completing his doctorate in music at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He went on to have a successful artistic career as an organist before transitioning to full-time composing in 2001. Recognized internationally as a composer, he has won over 70 international prizes at competitions such as the Bourges Magisterium in France and the Giga-Hertz Award in Germany.

“I extend hearty congratulations to Professor Oliveira on being awarded this prominent fellowship,” said Michael Douglas Dean of Humanities and Fine Arts Daina Ramey Berry. “His multifaceted exploration of the interaction between acoustic and electronic music exemplifies the culture of innovation we are proud to cultivate in the fine arts and humanities at UCSB. We could not be more pleased.”

With an understanding that “scientific research and composition work tightly together to improve the artist’s relation to contemporaneity,” Oliveira has developed models for compositional thought and tools for spatialization of sound in acousmatic and mixed music. 

“More recently I became interested in subjects such as the balance between structure/technique and intuition, in the process of composition, associated with models derived from fuzzy logic,” Oliveira stated. “And at this moment I am researching the idea of gesture (as defined by theorists such as Hatten, and others), as a basis for the interaction between instruments and electronic sounds, as well as sound and image.”

Oliveira has participated in the main international music festivals including Ars Musica in Belgium, Agora-IRCAM in France, Sonorities in Ireland, Rassegna di Musica Contemporanea in Italy and Visiones Sonoras in México, among others. He also served as the keynote speaker at the International Computer Music Conference in 2021. 

He will perform at a free visual music concert at the Community Arts Workshop in Santa Barbara on Thursday, April 20 at 8p.m. 

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