Oliver originally studied at Aberdeen University to become a classroom music teacher and in 2000, he moved to Glasgow, where he studied with John Maxwell Geddes, gaining a Distinction for his Masters degree, then continuing to complete a PhD in composition. He has since written works for the National Youth Choir of Scotland, the Hebrides Ensemble, Red Note, the Scottish Reed Trio, the Paragon Ensemble, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland, Drake Music Scotland, the New Music Players and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. In 2002, he received a silver medal from the Worshipful Company of Musicians in London and in 2004 he won the Mendelssohn Scholarship; he also been nominated for a Royal Philharmonic Society Award and a British Composer Award. Over the last few years, he has had works performed at festivals and venues in Oxford, Edinburgh, Manchester, Aldeburgh, Cluj-Napoca, San Francisco, Johannesburg, Verona, Berlin, Busan and Rostov-on-Don, with broadcasts in Europe and Asia. He is frequently involved in the creation of music for theatre, has a lecturing post at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and is interested in creating new music for a variety of inclusive settings.