Juan Gabriel Olivares is a musician, researcher, and educator. Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, his musical explorations have taken him across the Caribbean and North America from the southern United States throughout Canada.
As an orchestral clarinetist, he has performed as principal with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Ontario Philharmonic Orchestra, and Toronto Concert Orchestra, and has performed with conductors and soloists such as Renée Fleming, Leonard Slatkin, Peter Oundjian, Robert Spano, Zubin Mehta, David Zinman, and Sir Andrew Davis.
He has been a featured soloist with the Canadian Opera Company and is an active performer of contemporary classical music, working closely with composers such as Kaija Saariaho, Osvaldo Golijov, Beat Furrer, and Salvatore Sciarrino.
He began his musical career in jazz, folk, and improvised music, and later developed his formal training in classical music. He completed a performance diploma with Joaquin Valdepeñas at the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory of Music and a master’s degree in performance with Richie Hawley at Rice University. While in Houston, he was the curator and artistic advisor of New Art/New Music , a multimedia art gallery series and toured to the Dominican Republic as soloist and clinician of the Festival Clarinetissimo.
Most recently, his love for the combination of musical genres in contemporary music led him to a DMA degree at the University of Toronto. As a doctoral candidate, his research articulates the intersection between contemporary classical music and entrepreneurship. He co-directs the Contemporary Music Ensemble at the Faculty of Music, and teaches clarinet pedagogy.