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 cycle Extinction Events and Dawn Chorus (2018) explore themes of desire, memory, ritual transformation and the uncanny. Her genre-defying 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.
Her fourth opera, Tree of Codes, commissioned and premiered by Cologne Opera, Ensemble Musikfabrik and Hellerau in Cologne and Dresden was described as ‘a major contribution to the music theatre of our time’ (Egbert Hiller, Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, May 2016) and had the distinction of receiving a new production at the Spoleto Festival, USA in May and June 2018.
Publications, awards, academia
Lim’s music is published exclusively by Casa Ricordi (Milan, London & Berlin) and comprises a catalogue of over 70 works. Her music appears on CD labels such as Hat Hut, WERGO, ABC-Classics, Neos, 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).
Liza Lim was appointed Professor of Composition at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in 2017 and leads the Composing Women Program. Her composition teaching seeks to amplify and strengthen the specific poetic energy of each student. She was 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, China during 2017. In 2018, she was Resident Composer at Boston University’s Centre for New Music as well as serving on the teaching faculty of the Darmstadt Summer School. She has taught on numerous international summer courses and is in high demand 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 have been Richard David Hames, Riccardo Formosa and Brian Ferneyhough.
Liza lives in Melbourne.