He studied at the Music Academy in Prague with Prof. Václav Neumann and Alois Klíma, and at the Hoschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Vienna with Professor Otmar Suitner.
In the years 1979-1986 Oliver von Dohnányi was he conductor of the Bratislava Radio Symphony Orchestra, with which he released a great many recordings not only for Slovak National Radio, but also for the Naxos, Marco Polo, Supraphon, Panton, Verga and Opus labels. In the years 1986-1991 he was principal conductor of the Slovak National Theatre Opera Orchestra in Bratislava, where enlarged the Opera’s repertoire with the scenic works of Borodin, Puccini, Bellini, Rossini, Smetana and Verdi. He performed with the Slovak National Theatre Opera ensemble in Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, Hungary, Russia and China. His last production – Charles Gounod’s Faust was famous not only in former Czechoslovakia, but has been highly praised in Hungary, Israel and Great Britain, too. This production has been awarded the Critic’s Prize in the category of music at the Edinburgh Festival. At the same time, he also worked with the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra in Bratislava. With this ensemble, he gave a number of concerts in Slovakia consequently touring Switzerland and Russia. He also released some recordings with the Capella Istropolitana ensemble and conducted this chamber orchestra at concerts in Slovakia, Italy, Germany, Austria and the Netherlands.
In the years 1993-1996 Oliver von Dohnányi became the principal conductor of the Opera of the National Theatre in Prague. His production enriched the Theatre’s repertoire with the scenic works of Smetana, C. Gounod, Puccini, Verdi, Prokofiev, and Mozart. He toured Japan in 1995 and 1997 with the extraordinarily successful production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni and La Nozze di Figaro. Since 1997 he has regularly worked with the English National Opera in London, where he conducted with much success, operas by Verdi (Falstaff) and Arrigo Boito (Mefistofele).
Oliver von Dohnányi is a regular guest conductor with following orchestras: Yomiuri – Nippon Symphony Orchestra Tokyo, Chicago Symfoniette, National Symphony Orchestra of Portugal, Northern Philharmonic Leeds, Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, Kosice State Philharmonic Orchestra and the Slovak Sinfonietta of Zilina (e.g. 1990 tour of Sweden and the 1996 CD recording “Musical Classicism in Bratislava”). Other orchestras with which he has worked are the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, London Mozart Players, BBC Glasgow, BBC Belfast and the Irish National Symphony Orchestra.
Since 2000, Oliver von Dohnányi has co-operated intensively with the Czech National Symphony Orchestra. He is a regular guest conductor of the Opera Leeds, with which he produced operas by Georges Bizet, Ponchielli, Thomas, Smetana (the “Best Production” of 1998). He has also been invited to Opera houses in Basil, Zürich, Vienna, Osaka, Kassel, Mannheim, Karlsruhe, Oviedo, Naples, Wexford, Copenhagen, London, Prague and Brno.
Oliver von Dohnányi has conducted premiere performances of works by several Czech and Slovak composers (e.g. Petr Eben, Juraj Filas) and his recording of the opera “Memento mori” by Juraj Filas with the FOK Symphony Orchestra in Prague became a prize holder at the important television-festival in Salzburg. In May 2002, he conducted and recorded the premiere of three of Marian Budos works.