Oliver Kentish was born in London and studied the cello at The Royal Academy of Music where his teacher was Vivian Joseph. In 1977 he came to Iceland to play in the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. From 1978-1986 he taught at the Akureyri Music School and now teaches at Nyja Tónlistarskólinn in Reykjavík. He is also active as a choral and orchestral conductor.
Oliver has composed music in most genres, including a large number of songs, choral works and chamber music. Ongoing is a series of chamber concertos for various instruments, drawing inspiration from Greek mythology. The concertos include those for trumpet, clarinet, oboe, violin, guitar and harp amongst others. In 1993 he was commissioned by the British Government to compose a work which was the gift from the British nation to the people of Iceland on the occasion of fifty years of Icelandic independence. The work, “My People” (Icel. "Mitt fólk") for baritone and orchestra, dedicated to Iceland´s then President, Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, was premiered in September 1994, performed by the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and baritone Michael Clarke, conducted by Osmo Vänskä. Oliver has received several awards for his music and has three times been composer-in-residence at the Skálholt Summer Music series as well as receiving stipends from the Composers' Fund of the Icelandic Radio and from the Icelandic Ministry of Arts & Sciences. Music by Oliver is regularly performed on Icelandic Radio and appears on several CDs and he has been performed widely in Europe, the Scandinavian countries, the USA & Russia.