‘Let go and do music’

  • 29 November 2023
  • 2 minutes

Having performed for the Pope, the Royal Family and numerous Heads of State, Orlando Oliver (Computer Science 2022) had plenty of experience to fall back upon when approaching his most recent task.

As a conductor for the first time, Orlando led this term’s Gonville & Caius Music Society concert. He had numerous challenges, not least the availability of the musicians.

“The first time we had everyone in the same room was at the concert; rehearsing with limited forces was sometimes a little bit tricky,” he says.

“I’ve been conducted quite a lot, so I tried to do what I thought worked, being on top of tempo and being very clear with bringing people in, and maybe doing some musicality every now and then.

“At the concert it was a lot better than it had been in rehearsals, partly because all the right people were there. People could just let go, do music, rather than stress about notes.”

Orlando is a member of the Choir of Gonville & Caius College and has sung and played cello in previous GCMS concerts.

Previously he sang at Westminster Abbey Choir School, where he was Head Chorister in 2016-17 and performed at major events, including the annual Commonwealth Day Service, and then at Eton College.

“It was a surreal time in my life, being away from home that early and doing all this big stuff,” he says.

Orlando applied to Caius focused on his academic pursuits, but the choir was a consideration.

“Being a choral scholar was a natural step,” he says. “Caius is a very good choir in Cambridge. People want to be part of it. It’s a good group and it’s nice to have a bit of structure to the week.

“The number of colleges with a sizeable CompSci group and a good choir is small. Music is my break from work. I don’t do anything other than music and Computer Science!”