Oliver originally studied to become a classroom music teacher at Aberdeen University and in 2000, he moved to Glasgow, where he studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama with John Maxwell Geddes, gaining a Distinction for his Masters degree in 2002. He completed a PhD in composition in 2006 and has written works for the Paragon Ensemble, the National Youth Choir of Scotland, the Hebrides Ensemble, Psappha, Red Note, the Scottish Reed Trio, the BBCSSO, Illuminati, SYMPOSiA, the National Youth Orchestra of 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. Over the last few years, he has had works performed in the Glasgow Proms and at festivals and venues in Oxford, Edinburgh, Manchester, Aldeburgh, Cluj-Napoca, San Francisco, Johannesburg, Verona and Berlin, with several broadcasts in Europe and Asia.
Recent endeavours include Technophonia, working with Drake Music Scotland, as part of the London Cultural Olympiad (nominated for a Royal Philharmonic Society Award and a British Composer Award), and a music theatre project for the Commonwealth Games in 2014