Each week, the OUMS newsletter features an interview with someone who positively contributes to the Oxford music scene. This week, we sat down with flautist and composer Oli Cavadino to chat about his amazing work in music outreach.
Oli Cavadino (he/him)
Flautist, composer, outreach
Tell us a bit about yourself!
I’m Oli, and I’m a finalist at New College specialising in flute and composition. When I’m not performing with OUWO, OFO, or Orchestra VOX during term, I give flute recitals at care homes across South London and Surrey.
The sheer volume of outreach work that you have done at care homes is pretty incredible. What inspired you to get involved with this work?
Thank you! Although I’ve played to more than 75 care home audiences over the past year (and counting…), the novelty never wears off. My first performance in this setting was on Christmas Day at the age of 13 and, since then, what started as a hobby has grown into essentially a flexible and highly enjoyable part-time job. Once you start playing in the community and building up personal relationships with your audiences, you soon get the bug for it.
And, in truth, there isn’t really that much to it! It’s just me, my backing tracks, my mini-amp, and an hour out of my day. So I’d definitely encourage anyone to give it a go.
What makes getting involved with outreach so important?
As a musician – and especially while navigating the seemingly never-ending hamster wheel of performances in an Oxford term - it can be easy to lose sight of why we make music: the joy of it.
From personal experience, I’d say it’s the moments that make music outreach both so important, and so rewarding. Last summer, for example, I was playing John Denver’s Annie’s Song (arr. Galway) in a home when I had noticed a gentleman become visibly emotional (for positive reasons, I was assured; my playing wasn’t that insufferable). When I spoke with him afterwards, he explained to me how Annie’s Song held special meaning for him, bringing back wonderful memories of his late wife, Annie. A little can go such a long way.
What has your favourite musical experience been at Oxford so far?
Wow, tough decision! I suppose, quite unoriginally, I’ll have to settle for two. Performing Daphnis and Chloé in the OUWO 50th Anniversary Concert at the Sheldonian in HT23 was pretty special. Secondly, on a more personal level, it was a real buzz to get an ensemble together recently to record my recent cantata, CHRISTMAS EPISTLES for eight-part choir and organ, in preparation for the concert premiere taking place later this year with the New College Music Society.
Can you give us a music recommendation?
I find my listening habits change almost completely with the seasons. While I’ve recently enjoyed some great classical vocal music (MacMillan’s Vidi aquam is particularly stunning), I’m now gearing into summer mode. Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s The Beach and Antony Szmierek’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Fallacy are both pretty groovy.
To hear Oli play this term, follow the links below:
To get involved with OUMS outreach:
To find out more about the OUMS newsletter and our interviews, email Christopher at firstname.lastname@example.org.