Oliver Coates attained the highest degree result in the Royal Academy of Music's history and went on to achieve an MPhil with distinction at Oxford University (New College). He studied the cello with Colin Carr. Whilst at the Royal Academy, Oliver won the Sir John Barbirolli Memorial Prize, the Douglas Cameron Cello Prize, the May Mukle Cello Competition for his Elgar Concerto, the Montefiore Prize, the S & M Eyres Scholarship, the Louise Child Prize, a Foundation Award and a Vice-Principal's Special Award. He has twice been awarded a 'Star Award' by the Countess of Munster Musical Trust, in addition to a Myra Hess Trust award and an Oxford Philomusica Research Grant, to which private organisations he is deeply indebted for their continued support. He is a winner of the 2006 Philip & Dorothy Green Award for Young Concert Artists, awarded by the Making Music Federation.
Oliver made his London debut at the age of 15, with the Haydn C Major Concerto in St. John's, Smith Square. Since then, he has performed as a soloist and chamber musician around the world, including three solo concert tours of Japan, performing concertos with the Hibiki Strings. In the centenary year of Dvorak's death, he gave six performances of the concerto in different countries, including Estonia, Helsinki, Italy and across the UK. He is frequently invited to take part during international music festivals, such as the Manchester Cello Festival, the Chopin Festival in Paris, the Apeldoorn Chamber Music in the Netherlands and the London Soloists Chamber Orchestra Cello Festival.
In addition to performing with Radius and the London Sinfonietta, Oliver has given the world premieres of works for solo cello written for him by Elena Firsova, Alicia Grant, Graham Williams and Stèphane Altier. He has also given the UK premiere of Kaija Saariaho's Changing Light for soprano and cello, written to commemorate the anniversary of September 11, 2001, and recently performed Sofia Gubaidulina's Seven Words for cello, bayan and string orchestra at the Royal Academy in the presence of the composer.