Dr Oliver Thurley

Dr Oliver Thurley


I write music that is quiet and disquieting. My music has recently been performed by Plus-Minus ensemble, Ensemble Nikel, Heather Roche, Seth Parker Woods, Dario Calderone and Klaus Lang. I have been commissioned by the impuls academy and Gaudeamus Muziekweek, Tzlil Meudcan festival and the iN festival in Seoul. In addition to performances across Europe, my music has recently been performed in North and South America, Asia, and New Zealand.

In 2018 I received the Kranichsteiner Musikpreis for composition at the Darmstadt Summer Courses, the jury noting that in my work “compositional restraint becomes radical”.

In early 2017, the piece ‘whose veil remains inscrutable’ was released as part of Ensemble Nikel’s retrospective box-set A Decade. I have recently published journal articles exploring fragility in the work of Jakob Ullmann. In 2015, I  was a winner of Heather Roche’s crowd-funded commissioning competition. In the same year, I produced a short film with Austrian composer and organist Klaus Lang and violist Barbara Konrad, carrying a harmonium over Ilkley Moor.


  • Academic Integrity and Assessment Lead

Research interests

I compose contemporary instrumental music, focusing on aspects of quietness and fragility to invoke a sense of disquiet. As a composer, my work focuses on aspects of quietness, fragility, temporal disorientation, timbral instability and computational/algorithmic procedure. Other areas of research interests include:

  • quiet / fragile music;
  • experimental music;
  • composition;
  • sound art;
  • electronic music.
<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD Composition
  • MMus Electronic & Computer Music Studies
  • BA(Hons) Music Production

Student education

I teach on a wide range of modules throughout the School of Music, primarily focussing on music technology, composition and the Music, Multimedia & Electronics (MME) programme.

This includes various modules relating to Electronic Music Production and Creation; Music Technology; Electronic & Computer Music and Composition.

Research groups and institutes

  • Making Music

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>