‘what emerges in the haunted ruins of capitalist destruction? – vulnerability, precarity, unpredictability – these might actually be useful tools for finding and understanding new stories – stories of multi-species collaboration, stories of transformative encounter – not a tale of heroic progress but a symbiotic ‘becoming with’ the world that sings to and hears resurgence.’
Liza Lim is an Australian composer whose music focusses on collaborative and transcultural practices. Ideas of beauty, ecological connection and ritual transformation are ongoing concerns in her compositional work. Her four operas: The Oresteia (1993), Moon Spirit Feasting (2000), The Navigator (2007) and Tree of Codes (2016), and the major ensemble work Extinction Events and Dawn Chorus (2018) explore themes of desire, memory, and the uncanny. Widely commissioned by some of the world’s pre-eminent orchestras and ensembles, Lim is Sculthorpe Chair of Australian Music at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Her music is published by Casa Ricordi Berlin.
Liza Lim (b.1966, Australia) is a composer, educator and researcher whose music focusses on collaborative and transcultural practices. The roots of beauty (in noise), time effects in the Anthropocene and the sensoria of ecological connection are ongoing concerns in her compositional work. Her four operas: The Oresteia (1993), Moon Spirit Feasting (2000), The Navigator (2007) and Tree of Codes (2016), and the major ensemble work Extinction Events and Dawn Chorus (2018) explore themes of desire, memory, ritual transformation and the uncanny. Her genre-crossing percussion ritual/opera Atlas of the Sky (2018), is a work involving community participants of all abilities that investigates the emotional power and energy dynamics of crowds.
Liza Lim has received commissions and performances from some of the world’s pre-eminent orchestras (Los Angeles Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio Orchestra, BBC, WDR, SWR) and was Resident Composer with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in 2005 & 2006. Her work has been featured at the Spoleto Festival (USA), Miller Theatre New York, Festival d’Automne à Paris, the Salzburg, Lucerne, Holland, Venice Biennale Festivals and all the major Australian festivals. She has had a 30-year collaboration with the ELISION Ensemble and has regularly worked with Ensemble Musikfabrik, Ensemble Intercontemporain, Ensemble Modern, Klangforum Wien, International Contemporary Ensemble, Arditti String Quartet and JACK Quartet amongst others.
Publications, awards, academia
Lim’s music is published exclusively by Casa Ricordi (Milan, London & Berlin). Her music appears on CD labels such as Kairos, Hat Hut, WERGO, ABC-Classics, Neos, HCR and Winter & Winter. She has published journal articles on subjects such as transcultural aesthetics, performer collaboration and distributed creativities. Her research has been supported by grants from the British Academy, by an Australia Council Interdisciplinary Fellowship and Ian Potter Foundation Senior Fellowship as well as numerous international commissions. Other recognition for her work includes the Don Banks Award for Music (2018), the Peggy Glanville Hicks Residency (1995), Paul Lowin Prize for Orchestral Composition (2004), Fromm Foundation Award (2004) and DAAD Artist-in-residence Berlin (2007-08). She has been awarded a fellowship from the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin for 2021-22.
Liza Lim is Sculthorpe Chair of Australian Music and Professor of Composition at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. She facilitates the Conservatorium’s Composing Women program in amongst other advocacy work as well providing academic teaching and research leadership. Her composition teaching seeks to amplify and strengthen the specific poetic energy of each student. She was formerly Director of CeReNeM, the Centre for Research in New Music at the University of Huddersfield, UK (2008-2017) where she established the highly regarded HCR CD label as well as the Divergence Press and CeReNeM Journals. She was Visiting Professor of Composition at Shanghai Conservatory in China during 2017. In 2018, she was Resident Composer at Boston University’s Centre for New Music. She has taught at numerous international summer courses including Darmstadt, Royaumont and Ensemble Evolution at Banff as well as serving on panels as a guest speaker and jury member. She was a founding member of the Academy of the Arts of the World in Cologne and curated the music program for their inauguration in 2012. Liza Lim received her PhD from the University of Queensland, an MMus from the University of Melbourne and BA(mus) from the Victorian College of the Arts. Important composition teachers for her along the way include Richard David Hames, Riccardo Formosa and Brian Ferneyhough.
Liza lives in Melbourne.
7 representative pieces
Garden of Earthly Desire (1988)
Machine for Contacting the Dead (1999)
Tongue of the Invisible (2011)
Extinction Events and Dawn Chorus (2018)
Sex Magic (2020)
Mary / Transcendence after Trauma (2020)