Director of Music
Leslie Olive, founder and artistic director of The English Arts Chorale, The Music Trust, and Reigate Summer Music Festival, is a choir trainer, conductor, composer, arranger, educator, and writer on music, as well as a powerful advocate for music.
Born in Wales, he grew up in Surrey, studying music at Reigate Grammar School. He studied music at Reading University and conducting at The Royal Academy of Music. As a young teacher he founded and directed one of Kent's most successful youth choirs. Director of Music at Reigate Parish Church from 1980, he was later invited by the BBC to become the first music director of Radio 4's new-style Daily Service, where he directed numerous broadcasts. In 1993, he created Reigate Summer Music - a fortnight's festival of over 50 events which ranged from an outdoor firework spectacular with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to a seminar day on the music of Ralph Vaughan Williams, from which the scholarly papers were subsequently compiled into a published book.
Leslie Olive's work with the English Arts Chorale has taken him as conductor to major venues across the country, cathedrals and concert halls alike. He has conducted the English Arts Chorale with the Philharmonia Orchestra, London Mozart Players, the English Chamber Orchestra, and many of the most famous solo artists of the day including Jack Brymer, Robert Cohen, Benjamin Luxon, Sheila Armstrong, Willard White, Bonaventura Bottone, Catherine Wyn-Rogers, Ian Bostridge and Susan Gritton.
At his heart is a passionate desire to share music...
At his heart is a passionate desire to share music with the whole world. For over twenty-five years he has pursued that vision, through the English Arts Chorale and Reigate Summer Music, and also by work with children and senior citizens. He pioneered the Inroad choral courses for beginners, which have introduced hundreds to choral singing. In 2012 he launched the fully professional Suffolk Philharmonic Orchestra, which has won acclaim for the quality of its performances, with his performance of Vaughan Williams's London Symphony described by one Vaughan Williams enthusiast as "one of the very finest I have heard for many years."
Leslie Olive is also the conductor of two leading Suffolk choirs, The Stowmarket Chorale and Eye Bach Choir, Chorusmaster of Suffolk Opera, and was until 2012 Director of Music at Colchester Royal Grammar School, where he founded and directed a boys' choir of 80 young voices.
A qualified Royal Yachting Association Yachtmaster, he is usually hankering after the movement of the deck under his feet when not actually making music. Either that or walking the family's golden retriever Captain.