Olivia Shortt

Olivia Shortt

(They/Them: Anishinaabe, Nipissing First Nation) Olivia Shortt is a Tkarón:to-based storyteller and performing artist. They are a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, noisemaker, improviser, composer, sound designer, video artist, drag artist, curator, administrator, and producer.

Shortt was featured in the 2020 Winter edition of Musicworks Magazine and was described as a “glittering, rising star in the exploratory music firmament.” They made their Australian debut in 2017, performing new Canadian and Australian works for saxophone and Ondes Martinot, in Melbourne, with keyboardist Jacob Abela; They made their Lincoln Center debut in 2018 in New York City, performing Michael Pisaro’s A Wave and Waves, with the International Contemporary Ensemble; they made their film debut, acting and playing saxophone, in acclaimed filmmaker Atom Egoyan’s 2019 film Guest of Honour; and recorded an album with their duo Stereoscope, consisting of Robert Lemay’s composition Fragments Noirs two kilometres underground in the SnoLAB (an underground laboratory specializing in Neutrinos and dark matter physics in Northern Ontario, Canada). Their own performance-art-storytelling-work has been featured at Native Earth’s Performing Arts’ Weesageechak Festival, Upintheair Theatre’s e-Volver Festival, Paprika Festival and the Vector Festival.

Recent commissions and collaborations include Long Beach Opera (Songbook 2020), the JACK Quartet (as part of the inaugural JACK Studio), a new opera for Loose Tea Music Theatre and commissions with artists such as Carey Newman (The Witness Blanket), Blueridge Chamber Festival and Probably Theatre.

As a curator, they have presented artists such as Du Yun, Joy Guidry, Thin Edge New Music Collective, Tara Kanangara, Nannaam, Silla and Rise, Darren Creech, Cris Derksen, Teiya Kasahara, and Classic Roots. As well, they have curated panels for The Music Gallery, the Canadian New Music Network and the Indigenous Curatorial Collective.

In 2023-24 they will be an Artist-in-Residence at Carlton University’s Music Department and the University of Toronto Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies.

Shortt was awarded and named one of the 2020 Buddies in Bad Times’ Emerging Queer Artists, was a finalist for the 2021 Toronto Arts Foundation’s Emerging Artist Award and was featured in the 2020 Winter edition of Musicworks Magazine.

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