Ola Gjeilo (b. 5 May 1978, Skui, Norway) is a Norwegian-American composer and pianist.
The son of Inge and Anne-May Gjeilo, he began playing piano and composing when he was five years old growing up in the town of Skui, Norway. Always relying on his instinctive ability to hear music, he finally learned to read music when he was seven years old. Ola knew he wanted to be a composer from a very young age. While in high school, Ola was a very good pianist and took composition lessons with Wolfgang Plagge. In his undergraduate career, Gjeilo studied at the Norwegian Academy of Music (1999-2001), transferred to the Julliard school (2001), and studied at the Royal College of Music in London (2002-2004) to receive a Bachelor’s Degree in composition. He continued his education at Juilliard (2004-2006) where he received his Master’s degree in 2006, also in composition. Gjeilo has permanently resided in New York City since 2006.
Gjeilo writes primarily choral music, but has also written for piano and for wind symphony. His compositions were the focus of a CD recorded with the Phoenix Chorale in 2009 entitled, Northern Lights: Choral Works by Ola Gjeilo. In addition to composing every track on the album, Ola was the pianist for each of his works with piano in the orchestration. This album was named Best Classical Album of the Year by iTunes in 2012, and was the top-selling album for the prestigious Chandos Records in the USA for 2012. Gjeilo was the first ever composer-in-residence (2009-2010) for the 2008 and 2009 Grammy-winning Phoenix Chorale.
Gjeilo was recently awarded the 2016 Brock Commission which will be a commissioned choral work to be performed at all seven of the 2016 ACDA Division conferences in the United States. The Raymond W. Brock Memorial Choral Series is a highly esteemed list of commissioned compositions by premiere composers since 1991.
Gjeilo was also commissioned to write a piece, scored for voices, string quartet, and pianist for the elite a cappella octet group Voces8 and will be premiering it in 2016.
Works for Winds