(b. August 1966 in Perth; lives in Melbourne, Australia)
intense, personal, expressive, unforgiving, brutal, raw…incredibly moving (AC)
Liza Lim is an Australian composer, educator and researcher whose interests include collaborative and transcultural practices in music with a focus on perspectives from ecological anthropology, post-human/ anthropocene studies and research into distributed creativity. Her compositional practice is deeply imbued with a sense of the socio-cultural lineages of objects and performance practices hence her interest in musical form as an emergent expression of group processes. Her works, and in particular four operas: The Oresteia (1993), Moon Spirit Feasting (2000), The Navigator (2007) and Tree of Codes (2016), as well as the recent large-scale cycle Extinction Events and Dawn Chorus (2018) explore themes around ritual, spiritual transformation, temporal slippage and the uncanny. Her major stage work Atlas of the Sky (2018), a participatory work involving communities of trained and untrained performers, investigates the power and energy dynamics of crowds.
Lim 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, Klangforum Wien, Ensemble Modern, Arditti String Quartet and the International Contemporary Ensemble. Her fourth opera, Tree of Codes, commissioned and premiered 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) and had the distinction of receiving a new production at the Spoleto Festival, USA in May and June 2018.
Lim’s music has been published exclusively by Casa Ricordi (Milan, London & Berlin) since 1989. Her music appears on CD labels such as Hat Hut, WERGO, ABC-Classics, Neos, and Winter & Winter. She has published journal articles on areas 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. She was formerly Director of CeReNeM, the Centre for Research in New Music at the University of Huddersfield, UK where she established the highly regarded HCR CD label as well as the Divergence Press and CeReNeM Journals. She maintains a part-time role at Huddersfield. She was Visiting Professor of Composition at Shanghai Conservatory, China during 2017. In 2018, she was composer-in-residence at Boston University’s Centre for New Music as well as serving on the teaching faculty of the Darmstadt Summer School. 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 was a founding member of the Academy of the Arts of the World, Cologne and curated the music program 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.
LIM_Australia Council 2018 Don Banks Award acceptance speech, 06.03.2018
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.
Rafael-José Díaz (2011) Para Liza Lim, TRAVESÍAS, Cuaderno de apuntes de Rafael-José Díaz.