Olivia Shortt is a Toronto-based classical and contemporary saxophonist, administrator and teacher of Irish and Ojibwe descent from Nipissing First Nation. She strives to create, interpret and perform music and art that is new, strange and exciting.
As a soloist and chamber musician, Olivia has premiered works by local and international composers. In 2011, as a member of the University of Toronto Saxophone Quartet, she performed Michael Colgrass’ “Urban Requiem” with the University of Toronto Wind Ensemble as a winner of the University of Toronto Wind Ensemble Concerto Competition. She is collaborating on new and established repertoire, as well as educational workshops with saxophonist Jacob Armstrong in their saxophone duo, Stereoscope. She sings regularly with Christine Duncan’s Element Choir and has been involved in performances with Polarize Prize Winner Tanya Tagaq at The Carlu, Nathan Phillips Square as well as Massey Hall.
While participating in the Montreal Contemporary Music Lab, she collaborated with composers Ben Wylie and Luis Fernando Sanchez Gooding as well as other participants to perform two new works that were premiered in June 2015 at the Montreal Conservatory.
In July of 2013, she was invited to be a fellow at the Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival held in North Adams, MA at MASS MoCA. During her 3 weeks there she trained under members of the Bang on a Can All Stars as well as other faculty members and coaches from Eight Blackbird and Alarm Will Sound. She performed in premieres of works by fellows Finola Merivale, Stephen Feighenbaum and Erik DeLuca as well as performed in recitals featuring the music of David Lang and Michael Gordon.
Olivia has performed with the Glenn Gould Studio’s Royal Conservatory Orchestra, the Heliconian Choir and Orchestra, the Excelsior Ensemble, the University of Toronto Sax Ensemble and Wind Ensemble, and the Toronto Youth Wind Orchestra. She has participated in masterclasses with Timothy McAllister, Serge Bertocci, Jean-Michel Goury, and the Quasar saxophone quartet. She works as a performer, teacher and clinician in Toronto, as well as throughout Northern Ontario.
She studied with Dr. Wallace Halladay during her Bachelors of Music Performance degree and Advanced Certificate in Saxophone Performance, and will continue to do so during her Master’s in Performance. During her studies, she was a recipient of the David and Marcia Beach Summer Study Award and studied with Jean-Marc Bouchard and Marie-Chantal Leclair in Montreal.