Liza Lim


Liza Lim (b.1966, Perth) is one of Australia’s leading composers. She has received commissions and performances from some of the world’s pre-eminent orchestras (Los Angeles Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio Orchestra, BBC, WDR, SWR), festivals (Festival d’Automne Paris, Salzburg, Lucerne, Holland, Venice Biennale and all the major Australian festivals) and ensembles (Musikfabrik, Ensemble Intercontemporain, ELISION, Ensemble Modern, Arditti String Quartet etc). Since 2008, she has been Professor of Composition and founding Director of the Centre for Research in New Music, CeReNeM, at the University of Huddersfield. She returned to live in Melbourne this year whilst keeping her position in the UK on a part-time visiting basis and pursuing numerous freelance projects. Recent works include her fourth opera commissioned by Musikfabrik and the Opera House in Cologne based on Jonathan Safran Foer’s exquisite ‘cut-out’ book, Tree of Codes; a violin concerto, Speak, Be Silent for the 40th anniversary season opening of the Geneva-based Ensemble Contrechamps, and solo pieces that explore new areas of technique for instruments such as the bassoon (Axis Mundi) and double-bell euphonium (The Green Lion eats the Sun). She 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. Her compositions have been published by Casa Ricordi (Milano, London & Berlin) since 1989 with a catalogue of over 65 works. She has portrait CDs with Hat Hut, WERGO, ABC-Classics and Dischi Ricordi with other work appearing on HCR, Neos, Aeon and Vox Australis.

Composer photograph by Klaus Rudolf.

Composer website:

Featured Works

Philtre, for Hardanger fiddle (Norwegian folk fiddle) or retuned violin.

A philtre is a ‘love potion’. This piece for the Norwegian Hardanger fiddle exploits the instrument’s resonance strings (rather like an Indian sitar) and low-voiced tuning to weave a texture of murmuring resonances. The work can also be played on a standard violin (tuned FCEB)

Featured in Playlist 8 – String Waves, 31/08/2015