Gregory Oh



Gregory Oh is a pianist, music director and artistic programmer who always tries to lean towards the progressive and experimental. His exploits have taken him from techno mecca Berghain in Berlin to the Wordless Music Series at the Lincoln Centre in New York to the Beijing Modern Music Festival. Recent adventures include performing and recording with improvising legend Roscoe Mitchell and the Montreal-Toronto Art Orchestra, conducting the three world premieres – The Cave by Tomson Highway and John Millard, Bearing (Signal Theatre) and While 100 Guitars Gently Weep (Bradyworks) – at the Luminato Festival, performing on piano and marimba with Steve Reich at Massey Hall and musical direction on Sean Griffin’s Cold Spring at EMPAC with members of Signal Ensemble and the JACK Quartet. Working with multidisciplinary powerhouse Volcano Theatre and Neema Bickersteth, he has toured on piano across North America, Europe and Africa with Century Song, with Soundstreams Canada he appeared as pianist and conductor in the Shanghai Modern Music Festival and working with Aaron Gervais and Julia Aplin, his video game piece Halo Ballet has been featured at the Music Gallery, Interaccess and Montreal Nouvelles Musiques.

He remains deeply committed to contemporary work, and has enjoyed collaborations with André Ristic, William Parker, Nicole Lizée, Juliet Palmer, Andrew Staniland, William Parker, James Rolfe, Steve Reich, Phillip Glass, John Oswald, John Adams, Vinko Globokar, Phillippe Leroux, Jorg Widmann, R. Murray Schafer, Tristan Perich and Norma Beecroft, as well as artists from other disciplines, like Michael Greyeyes, Shary Boyle, Andrea Nann, Marie-Josée Chartier, Julia Aplin and Dennis Lee. He spent six years programming for the Music Gallery in Toronto and was the artistic director of the Open Ears Festival in Kitchener from 2012 to 2017. In opera, he taught at the Banff Centre’s Dramatic Integration Opera Training Program, was the music director of the San Diego Opera Ensemble, and was music director for many new works including Giiiwedin (Native Earth), XXX Live Nude Girls (Summerworks), Melancholiac (Bad New Days) and 21C Dido and Aeneas, which he created while a resident artist at Soulpepper (2011-2017), and which was lauded by NOW Toronto as “the kind of bracing, entertaining work that deserves a larger audience and a longer run.” He also works as a repetiteur, and credits include From the House of the Dead (Canadian Opera Company), Kopernikus (Banff Opera), Oksana G (Tapestry), The Overcoat (Canadian Stage/Tapestry/Vancouver Opera), Pimooteewin and Gallabartnit (Signal Theatre/Soundstreams), Shanawdithit (Tapestry/Opera on the Avalon/Native Earth), The Rake’s Progress (Florida State Opera) and The Barber of Seville (Soulpepper). 

He trained in classical piano at the University of Toronto, where he graduated with the Forsyth Award as the top graduating pianist and the University of Michigan, which he attended with the assistance of an Ontario Chalmers Award. His playing gravitates more towards the instinctive than intellectual; of his first solo radio broadcast on the CBC, the National Post wrote, “Oh’s mesmerizing performance combined intelligence and soul; imagination and insight. He revealed a visceral sense of tempo, excellent voicing, a wonderful pianistic palette, and a warm honest sound.”  His first concerto appearance in Europe garnered rave reviews: “Playing at a level above everyone else in the Bartok Third Concerto, the soloist Gregory Oh left the orchestra far behind him. A crystal clear tone and his musical, structure-conscious thinking showed, together with a highly sensitive art of touch, a playing of professional maturity.” (Graz Neue Zeit) and “The singular high point remained Gregory Oh, whose Third Piano Concerto by Bartok, radiating through and through with intellectual brightness, was marked by great and small wonders.” (Graz Kronen Zeitung) 

Recent performances include the London Symphonia and the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony as soloist in Scott Good’s Hands of Orlac, as well as the Ottawa Chamber Festival, the Festival International de Musique de Victoriaville, NUMUS, New Music Concerts, Soundstreams, Vancouver Bach Choir, Montreal Nouvelles Musiques, Arraymusic, Pop Montreal, NXNE, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Aberdeen Music Festival, Stratford Summer Music and Continuum Contemporary Music. He is the artistic director of the highly acclaimed new music group Toca Loca with Simon Docking and Aiyun Huang, and “is clearly on his way, through performances, commissioning and programming, to making a lasting contribution to new music in this country.” (National Post). 

He teaches at the University of Toronto and the National Youth Orchestra of Canada.