Vivienne Olive was born on 31st May 1950 in London, where she studied Piano, Organ, Harpsichord and Music Theory. 1968 A.Mus.T.C.L. diploma from Trinity College London.

From 1968 to 1971 she studied for her B.A. degree in music at the University of York. She then went on to postgraduate studies in composition, studying with Bernard Rands (York 1971-72), 
 Franco Donatoni (Milan 1972-74), Roman Haubenstock-Ramati (Vienna 1974-75) and Klaus Huber (Freiburg 1975-78). She received her Ph. D. in composition from the University of York in  1975.

Vivienne Olive`s Oeuvre comprises more than 60 works that reach from compositions for recorder to operas. The impulse for her opera „Das hässliche Entlein“ was an International Composer´s Competition initiated by Hochschule für Musik Cologne in cooperation with the Cologne Opera in 2004. The fairytale opera with a libretto written by the director and author Doris Dörrie will be first performed in cooperation with Hochschule für Musik Nuremberg at „Theater Mummpitz“ in Nuremberg on 6th march 2010.


From 1976 to 1978 she also continued her studies in harpsichord with Stanislav Heller at the Hochschule für Musik in Freiburg
which lead to a diploma in 1978. She has been awarded  composition scholarships from the Department of Education and Science (1971-74) and the German Academic Exchange Service (1975-78).

She has been recipient of various prizes and distinctions: from the Gedok - Leni Neuenschwander Prize 1998- for "Gleichsam einem Garten", from the Bach Academy in Stuttgart for "Stabat Mater", from the town of Hamlyn (Hameln/ Germany) for "An English Suite", and the Stuttgart Composition Prize for "Tomba di Bruno". Many of her works have been commissions from soloists,  chamber ensembles and radio stations, mainly in Germany, Great Britain and Australia. Various publications in the field of music theory (analyses, theory of harmony, editing). Member of the  board of directors of the "Internationaler Arbeitskreis Frau und Musik" (Women in Music Germany) since 1995.

Since 1979 she has been lecturer for Music Theory and Composition at the Hochschule fuer Musik, Nuremberg-Augsburg (formerly Meistersingerkonservatorium), Germany. Between 1993 and 1995 she was on leave of absence in Australia at the University of Ballarat and the James Cook University, Townsville, where she headed the University's Music Academy and also staged the  music festival, "Contempofest 94".

Vivienne Olive: Composer in Residence - Bundanon, August / September 2004

I got back to Germany from Bundanon, Australia at the beginning of October and had to adjust to autumn and being in a city once more. I am a senior lecturer in music theory and composition in Nuremberg - a far cry from the wombats and kangaroos who were my constant companions in Authur Boyd's Bundanon.

This trust has developed programmes and facilities to create the "Living Arts Centre" envisaged by Authur Boyd and offers residencies not only to visual artists but also to writers and composers.

I was lucky enough to enjoy the privilege of being Composer in Residence for nearly six weeks and I can truly say it was one of the most memorable experiences I have ever had.

The highlight of my stay was working with the Shoalhaven Youth Orchestra who performed my piece The river runs across the page (the title being a line taken from one of Anna Kerdyjk Nicholson's "Bundanon Cantos"). The performance took place on a perfect day in the Authur and Yvonne Boyd education centre at Riversdale.

My co-operation with this poet (who was Writer in Residence in 1998) also inspired me to write a song cycle, based on some other poems taken from her Bundanon Cantos: Of broken wings and artificial flowers. This is due to be performed in 2005 in the version for baritone in Lübeck, Germany, and in the version for mezzo soprano in Northampton, England.

Particularly inspiring was the contact with the other artists who were there at the same time. "Contact" is not the right word. Genuine friendships were formed. Gillian Turner (Melbourne) is designing the cover for the published version of the Shoalhaven orchestral piece and there are plans afoot to work on joint projects with the artist / photographer Maree Azzopardi (Sydney) and the environmental artist Patrick Jones (Melbourne).