Liza Lim (short bio) Dec 2017
Universal Music (Ricordi) page
University of Huddersfield staff page
Liza Lim
(b. August 1966 in Perth; lives in Melbourne, Australia)
Liza Lim, photo by Klaus Rudolf

Liza Lim, photo (c)

Liza Lim connects her compositional practice to areas of thought and knowledge such as Australian Indigenous aesthetics (eg: Invisibility for solo ‘cello); Asian ritual forms & performance practices (Moon Spirit Feasting, a Chinese ritual street opera); a Sufi poetics of bewilderment, loss, communion and ecstasy (Tongue of the Invisible); the textilic arts of weaving and knot-making as a cross-modal ‘technology for thinking’ (Winding Bodies: 3 knots), as well as empathy and intuition in an ecology of collaboration.

Liza Lim is one of Australia’s leading composers. She has been commissioned by some of the world’s pre-eminent orchestras including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio Orchestra, BBC Symphony, WestdeutscherRundfunk and SudwestRundfunk Orchestras, and was composer in residence with the Sydney Symphony from 2005-2007. Her music has been featured at Festival d’Automne à Paris, Holland Festival, Venice Biennale, Tage für neue musik Zürich, amongst many other festivals, and she has made operas and installation works commissioned by the Adelaide, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane Festivals. She has had close creative collaborations with ensembles such as MusikFabrik, Ensemble Intercontemporain, ELISION, Ensemble Modern, Arditti String Quartet and ICE New York. Lim has been particularly associated with the ELISION Ensemble since the group’s inception, notably composing 3 operas, The Oresteia (1993), Moon Spirit Feasting (1999) and The Navigator (2008) that they performed in seasons in Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Tokyo, Moscow, Paris, Zurich and Berlin. Her fourth opera, Tree of Codes (2015), commissioned and presented by Cologne Opera, 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).

Research into cross-cultural practice in music is at the heart of Lim’s compositional work seen in her catalogue of approx. 70 scores with Casa Ricordi (Milan, London & Berlin) and on CD labels such as Hat Hut, WERGO, ABC-Classics, Neos, and Winter & Winter. She has published journal articles on areas such as intercultural exchange and aesthetics, performer collaboration and distributed creativities. Recent works include How Forests think (2016) for Chinese sheng and ensemble premiered by Wu Wei and the ELISION Ensemble at BIFEM in Bendigo and subsequently toured to festivals in Zurich and Huddersfield; and Ronda – The Spinning World (2016), a work re-conceiving the Brazilian instruments of Walter Smetak, commissioned by Ensemble Modern, which premiered at Frankfurt Alte Oper and Berlinerfestpiele Maerzmusik in Feb/March 2017 and also toured Brazil.

Liza Lim 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. Now based in Melbourne, she continues in a part-time role at Huddersfield and from 2017 is Professor of Composition at Sydney University-Sydney Conservatorium of Music. She is Visiting Professor of Composition at Shanghai Conservatory, China during 2017. Lim is in demand as a guest speaker, recently giving talks for Harvard’s Barwick Colloquium Series and at Stanford University and Shanghai Conservatory as well as teaching at international summer schools at Darmstadt, Royaumont and Beijing Central Conservatory of Music. Her recent research has been supported by grants from the British Academy, an Australia Council Interdisciplinary Fellowship and Ian Potter Foundation Senior Fellowship. Other recognition for her work includes 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 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. She is a founding member of the Academy of the Arts of the World, Cologne and curated the music programme for their inauguration in 2012.


[Lim] holds a commanding position in international music, her intricately sensuous scores welcomed both at the Los Angeles Philharmonic and at German new-music festivals. Yet she shows an acute sensitivity to the local and particular, to voices on the margins of a smoothly integrated global culture…Lim exemplifies a younger generation of composers who have revivified modernism by kicking away its technocratic façade and heightening its visceral power.
Alex Ross, Singing in Tongues, The New Yorker, 21 April 2014.

Also see collation of press about Tree of Codes (2016)

Writings about/by Lim
Appleby, R. (2012) Women of Note. Perth, Freemantle Press.
Burnard, P. (2012) Musical Creativities in Practice. Oxford, OUP.
Clarke, E., Doffman, M. and Lim, L. (2013) Distributed Creativity and Ecological Dynamics in Liza Lim’s Tongue of the Invisible. Music and Letters 94 (4) 628-663.
Feneyrou, L. (2015) Liza Lim. IRCAM resources (online). in French
Kerry, G. (2009) New Classical Music: Composing Australia. Sydney, UNSW Press.
Lim, L. (2013) A mycelial model for understanding distributed creativity: collaborative partnership in the making of ‘Axis Mundi’ (2013) for solo bassoon. online Proceedings of CMPCP Performance Studies Network Conference, 4th-7th April 2013, Cambridge, UK.
Lim, L. (2012) Patterns of Ecstasy. Darmstädter Beiträge zur neuen Musik (21) 27-43.
Rutherford-Johnson, T. (2017) Music After the Fall. Oakland, University of California Press.
Rutherford-Johnson, T. (2011) Patterns of Shimmer. Tempo 65 (259) 2-9.
Rutherford-Johnson, T. (2010) Processes of Revelation. INTO, Journal of Sound & Music, October. 26-31.

Interviews with
A selection of interviews and excerpts of compositions can be found at: BBC3 website.
Asenjo, M.A. & Lim, L. (2015) Entrevista a Liza Lim. Espacio Sonoro. (In Spanish & English)
Ford, A. & Lim, L. (2015) ‘Spiritual Ecstasy and Earthly Desire’, Interview with Liza Lim. In Earth Dances. Melbourne, Black Inc.
Gottschalk, J. & Lim, L.  (2011) ELISION: transference (2) – Liza Lim.  soundexpanse.
Sdraulig, C.  & Lim, L, (2015) Liza Lim interviewed by Charlie Sdraulig. Youtube video. produced as part of ‘Re-imagining Opera’, Stanford/UCSD Graduate Seminar, Fall 2015.
Szpirglas, J. & Lim, L. (2009) Interview with Liza Lim (about The Navigator). Festival d’Automne Paris Catalogue.

Something else
Rafael-José Díaz (2011) Para Liza Lim, TRAVESÍAS, Cuaderno de apuntes de Rafael-José Díaz.