“Born on January 2, 1928 in Arpăşel, Romania, Tiberiu Olah studied at the Cluj Conservatory (1946-49). In 1948 he won a scholarship to study in Paris. However, as of 1949 all scholarships for Western Europe were cancelled due to political reasons, and therefore he was granted, as compensation, a scholarship to the Tchaikowsky Conservatory in Moscow (1949-54). Despite Stalinist restrictions, he found there a dependable musical life and together with his teacher E. Messner and his composer colleagues Dennisov, Holopov, Roshdetwensky, A. Wolkonski managed to discover musical realization.
Since his student days, Olah has participated in numerous international seminars, workshops and festivals, such as the Warsaw Autumn Festival (1968, 1971), the “Ferienkursen für Elektronische Musik” organised by the Siemens-Studio in Munich (1966), and the “Internationalen Ferienkursen für Musik” in Darmstadt (1966-73). Since 1954, he has been a professor of composition at the National University of Music in Bucharest.
Olah has been a composer-in-residence at the invitation of the Deutschen Akademischen Austauschdienst (DAAD) (1969,1970); holder of a DAAD research scholarship (1978), and a member of Gesellschaft für Musikalische Aufführungs- und Mechanische Vervielfältigungsrechte member (since 1968). However, he has also experienced some setbacks, including his failure to be admitted to the Romanian Academy in 1971-1972, as his musical style was considered by the communist hierarchy as not being representative enough of their ideals.
His honour list comprises prestigious awards: the “Koussevitzky Foundation” prize – USA (1974) for “valuable contributions to the music of our days”; the “George Enescu” prize of the Romanian Academy (1964); two Golden Pelican prizes of the Association of Cineasts (1965, 1971); the Film Festival Award – 46Moscow (1972); four awards of the Composer’s Union in Romania (1974-75, 1979, 1980, 1986); the Grand Prize of the Composer’s Union in Romania (1993) for his entire oeuvre, The Excellence Prize of the Film National Centre (2002) for “valuable contributions to the Romanian film ”, and The Romanian National Order “Faithful Service” at the rank of Commander for “valuable artistic contributions and cultural promotion” (2001). Tiberiu Olah died on October 2, 2002.” (Laura Manolache)