After gaining a place at the prestigious Royal Birmingham Conservatoire in 2015, Olivia had the good fortune to receive tuition from John O' Gallagher, Mike Williams, Percy Pursglove and Ed Puddick before graduating in 2019.
As a performer, Olivia regularly plays on the Birmingham scene and is a member of Birmingham Jazz Orchestra. Her sextet has also recently played at Birchfield Jazz Festival and The Spotted Dog and in November recorded new material for a 2020 release. Olivia has always had a passion for composition, becoming the first and only two time winner of the coveted RBC Jazz Composition Prize (2018 and 2019). In March 2019, Olivia debuted The Virgil Suite for her Almost Big Band (a 13 piece large ensemble featuring Percy Pursglove) at Eastside Jazz Club in Birmingham. Olivia is quickly becoming a sought-after composer and has recently been working on music for Birmingham Jazz Orchestra, Orchestra in The Shape Of A Pear, and her own sextet.
Olly Chalk was born in Bury St. Edmunds and grew up in a quiet village in rural Suffolk. At 18, he received a scholarship to study Jazz Piano at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, graduating four years later with a First Class Honours. During these formative years, Olly developed his voice as a pianist and improviser studying the music of McCoy Tyner, Herbie Hancock and Kenny Kirkland. Today, his deeply emotive but informed pianism intertwine with his understanding of the subtle balance between structure and freedom. As a composer, he walks the high-wire between total freedom and detailed (often through-composed) writing, taking with him a ‘blank canvas’ approach to any and all musical situations.
In January 2018, Olly received the Peter Whittingham Development Award through HMUK to assist with the costs of a tour and album recording. Featuring world-renowned New York saxophonist John O’Gallagher alongside the Olly Chalk Trio, ‘Scathed Citizens’ explores a vivid picture-book of themes: science fiction, mysticism, hope, anxiety and dystopia. Influenced by David Binney, Pablo Held and Einojuhani Rautaavara, this album (due for release in June 28th 2019) showcases daring, emotive compositions and explosive improvising.
Having recently moved to South-East London, Olly is now undertaking an MMus degree in Jazz Piano at Trinity Laban; his teachers include Kit Downes, Bruno Heinen and Liam Noble. Despite his short time in London, Olly is beginning to establish himself in the capital. Having recently played at King's Place, London Jazz Festival and Kansas Smitty's, Olly is looking forward to continuing to make as much music as possible.