Olivia Kieffer

We commissioned the Atlanta based percussionist and composer Olivia Kieffer.


Olivia is bandleader, composer, and drummer for the Clibber Jones Ensemble, a 7-piece Chamber Rock band in Atlanta.


Olivia Kieffer (b. 1980) hails from Appleton, Wisconsin. She joined the music faculty at Reinhardt University in 2009, where she teaches Applied Lessons, Percussion Methods, World Music, and directs the Reinhardt University Percussion Ensemble. Ms. Kieffer earned a Bachelor of Music at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and a Master of Music at Georgia State University. She studied with Allen Otte of the Percussion Group Cincinnati, and with Stuart Gerber. She feels at home in both the classical and rock world, and has been heard on recordings with Christopher Adler, Emory University Wind Ensemble, Georgia Brass Band, Tay0, and Clibber Jones Ensemble. Active in Atlanta’s vibrant New Music scene, she has performed with the Terminus Ensemble, Chamber Cartel, and Sonic Generator, and was co-founder of the Percussion Repertoire Group Atlanta. Ms. Kieffer has been a proud member of Chix With Stix Percussion Group since 2004. She is composer (under the pseudonym Clibber Jones), bandleader, and drummer for the 7-piece chamber rock group, Clibber Jones Ensemble. Her compositions are published through Living Creatures Press. Olivia’s music and her involvement in Chix with Stix and the Clibber Jones Ensemble have been highlighted in ArtsAtl, TomTom Magazine, the Atlanta Creative Music podcast, and WABE (90.1FM).

To see what she's up to now, please visit oliviakieffer.com.


A/B: Any pre/during/post composition rituals?
Olivia: The most consistent thing would be working at a messy desk every time.

A/B: Favorite drink after finishing a composition?
Olivia: Plymouth Gin, bitters, and club soda! (also called a Pink Gin by the British)

A/B: Rom-com or Action-Thriller?
Olivia: "Waiting for Guffman", which is both, obvs.

A/B: Favorite live musical moment?
Olivia: The most magical concert I ever attended was Tom Waits at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, in 2008.
Two of the most powerful experiences I've had as a performer were: Playing timpani on Mahler's Symphony No. 1, and performing "Drumming" in its entirety.

A/B: Sibelius or Finale?
Olivia: The first and only music notation software I've learned to use is Sibelius 7, and I think it's pretty good.
Notation takes the longest time! It is the one area in life where I am meticulous. I always spend way more time notating a piece than I do composing it. Yikes!

A/B: Favorite Artist?
Olivia: Pauline Baynes. She created all of the artwork in the Chronicles of Narnia books. I have tattoos of her woodcuts; that's how much I love her!

A/B: What was your first Instrument?
Olivia: My first instrument was the piano, which I started in first grade, and I was such a terrible student that my parents decided it was best if I took a break from piano for awhiles. Later I joined band class on Percussion, and that was the Golden Ticket!

A/B: Favorite Book?
Olivia: "A Wrinkle In Time" by Madeleine L'Engle.

A/B: Ideal vacation spot?
Olivia: I've always dreamed of staying in a house on a beach somewhere with the breeze and the water, all by myself for a few weeks, with no worries, and all I would do is compose and sleep.

A/B: Favorite breakfast food?
Olivia: Sushi, or, pizza.

A/B: Your proudest moment?
Olivia: One of my most exciting moments was my first composition lesson, which was with Marc Mellits via Skype. He helped me work some things out with my first commission, which was an electric guitar solo for my dear friend and bandmate, Darren Nelsen. I love Marc's music so much, and having those 2 "firsts" together was so uplifting!

A/B: Favorite movie?
Olivia: It's a tie between "Clue" and "Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999)"

A/B: Your first LP, tape, CD, etc. purchase?
Olivia: "Hangin' Tough" by New Kids on the Block, on tape of course!

A/B: What was your first composition?
Olivia: "Workout With Jane Fonda", which was part of an electronic album of tunes that I wrote in 2008, called "Workout With Clibber Jones!". https://soundcloud.com/clibber/workout-with-jane-fonda
It's pretty amazing for aerobic dancing! Try it out!