Patrick Olsen: Arranger, Performer & Music Director.
Known professionally for creativity, diversity and an attention to fine details, Patrick Olsen is at home in many music settings. Embraced primarily in jazz and traditional Irish folk music communities, Patrick was the flute & tin whistle soloist with The Irish Harp Orchestra, the flautist with The Irish Chamber Orchestra, and the baritone saxophonist for many wonderful modern ensembles including the Homerton Jazz Orchestra (HoJO), whom he built and directed from 2014-2017.
Currently completing a PhD in music pedagogy at The University of Cambridge, Patrick simultaneously:
- Supervises undergraduate students for both the Faculty of Music and the Faculty of Education.
- Established Homerton Jazz, the University of Cambridges most-active jazz programme;
- Directed and wrote most of the music for the Homerton Jazz Orchestra, a 21-member jazz big band;
- Co-created Homerton’s ‘Jazz in the Bar‘, Cambridge University’s only weekly jazz jam-session that draws students & local professionals;
- Led and wrote arrangements for his 1930’s New Orleans-inspired septet, Radio Americana!
Ireland: Teaching & Performing (2006-2014)
A graduate of The Berklee College of Music (jazz arranging and education), Patrick settled in Ireland where he studied at The Irish World Academy. Graduating with his MA in performance, Patrick balanced a career of teaching and performing. His teaching experience ranged from rural primary schools to universities. Along the way, Patrick taught hundreds of students to play music at The Irish Academy, The Croagh School of Music and The Irish Harp Centre (where he was vice-principal). These experiences led to invitations to teach at Irish music retreats and The University of Limerick, where he taught classes on improvisation and flute/tin whistle performance.
As a performer, Patrick was the flute soloist with The Irish Harp Orchestra on their regular European and Irish tours as well as the flautist (& tour organiser) with the Irish Chamber Orchestra. Patrick was also the baritone saxophonist and music arranger with the Blue Monk Quartet. Not many people can claim that they performed with such high-level folk, classical and jazz ensembles at the same time!
With the Irish Harp Orchestra. ‘Honour and Glory’ European tour.
Patrick’s teaching experiences inspired him to add “researcher” to his job description. After earning a BSc in psychology from The Open University (UK), Patrick enrolled as a PhD researcher at the Faculty of Education at the University of Cambridge, where he currently researches the assessment of improvisation in music examinations. For his constant effort developing the music life in Homerton College, particularly with establishing Homerton Jazz, a programme involving a jazz big band, a regular student jazz jam, and supervising students interested in improvisation, Patrick was awarded the prestigious 2016 Barton Award for “the graduate student who has made the most outstanding contribution to Homerton College life over the past year”. This included securing performances with the Homerton Jazz Orchestra in The Cambridge Jazz Festival, The Cambridge Light Switch-On Ceremony, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire and establishing a New Orleans-inspired Mardi Gras event in Cambridge.
Still busy making music, his recent music compositions and arrangements strongly reflect the diversities of cultures and high standards of musicianship that he has encountered in Cambridge. This includes writing music for children based on their local history with HistoryWorks. You can listen to his newest music here or follow his blog about music and academics here.
The Blue Monk Quartet at the Limerick International Jazz Festival. Photo by Valerie Gunning.
Patrick Olsen is a member of: Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM), Irish Music Rights Organisation (IMRO), British Education Research Association (BERA), Society of Music Analysis (SMA) & The UK Musician’s Union (MU).