Portrait of Professor Liza Lim Professor Liza Lim

l.lim@hud.ac.uk | 01484 471280


…[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… (Alex Ross, The New Yorker, April 2014)

Liza Lim is Professor of Composition and Director of CeReNeM, the Centre for Research in New Music, joining the University of Huddersfield in 2008. She initiated and established the HCR CD/DVD label, CeReNeM Journal (see Issue 5, 2015) and Divergence Press and has also led two large URF research projects for the centre. She directs the programme Speculations in Sound, part of CeReNeM’s international research network events.

Lim connects her compositional practice to areas such as Australian Indigenous aesthetics (‘shimmer’) and non-western epistemologies of time and space; the way external representations (eg: knots) amplify and extend cognition; ecologies of collaboration and distributed creativities.

She has written four operas, the most recent being Tree of Codes (2013-15) based on Jonathan Safran Foer’s book of the same name, commissioned by Ensemble musikFabrik, Opera Cologne and Hellerau European Centre for the Arts for a premiere in April 2016. Previous operas, The Oresteia (1993), Moon Spirit Feasting (1999) and The Navigator (2008) were all written for the ELISION Ensemble who performed the works in seasons in Melbourne, Adelaide, Berlin, Zurich, Tokyo, Brisbane, Moscow and Paris.

In 2016, she is featured composer in the 30th Anniversary edition of the Tage für neue music Zurich as well as receiving major performances in Berlin, Cologne, Dresden and Bendigo.

Lim’s work has been recognized with major commissions from organisations such as the Holland Festival and Ensemble musikFabrik, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio, BBC, WDR and SWR Symphony Orchestras, Ensemble Intercontemporain Paris, Festival d’Automne à Paris, Lucerne Festival, Salzburg Festival, Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart and Pinakothek der Moderne Munich. She was composer-in-residence with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in 2005 and 2006 and has worked closely with musicians of the ELISION Ensemble for over 20 years producing large-scale projects for all the major Australian festivals. She curated a concert series for the 2006 Adelaide Festival and for the 2012 ‘Cutting Edge’ Festival in Cologne.

Awards include the Paul Lowin Prize for the orchestral work ‘Ecstatic Architecture’, Fromm Foundation Award, DAAD Artist-in Residence in Berlin (2007-08), Senior Creative Fellowships from the Ian Potter Cultural Trust (2008) and the Australia Council (2014) and a British Academy small grant supporting a project on distributed creativity in collaboration with Eric Clarke and Mark Doffman (Oxford). In 2012, she was appointed one of the founding members of the Akademie der Künste der Welt, an international think-tank focused on intercultural dialogue and the arts based in Cologne.

She has a catalogue of over 70 works with Casa Ricordi (Milan, London, Munich & Berlin) who have published her work since 1989. Portrait CDs of her work have been released on ABC-Classics, Dischi Ricordi, Wergo and HatArt with the CD Tongue of the Invisible selected for ‘best of 2013’ lists in The New Yorker and Sunday Times. Further discs featuring her music are due out on AEON, Neos and Winter & Winter.

Liza Lim gained her PhD from the University of Queensland, MMus from the University of Melbourne and BA (music) from the Victorian College of the Arts. She is in demand as a jury member and as a guest teacher at international summer courses such as Darmstadt, Royaumont and the Beijing International Composition Workshop. She has given guest lectures and masterclasses at the University of Harvard, University of California San Diego, UCBerkeley, Cornell University, New York University, Manhattan School of Music, Getty Research Institute LA, Stanford University, Institute of Musical Research, London, Royal College of Music, RMIT’s Spatial Information Architecture Laboratory, National University of Singapore, Kunstuniversität Graz and at Glasgow, Oxford, Cambridge and BathSpa Universities.

Website: http://lizalimcomposer.wordpress.com/


Research and Scholarship

Research Areas

  • Composition
  • Contemporary opera/music theatre
  • Collaborative processes in improvisation and interdisciplinary practice
  • Distributed Creativities
  • Cross-cultural aesthetics (Asian & Australian Aboriginal art, ritual & performance practice)
  • Material translation (‘the nature of knots’)

Publications and Other Research Outputs


Lim, L (2016) The Weaver's Knot on 'Arditti String Quartet, Gifts and Greetings' [Audio]

Lim, L (2016) Ronda - The Spinning World, 16', Ricordi Berlin, Sy.4499 [Composition]

Lim, L (2016) How Forests think, for sheng & ensemble, 40', Ricordi Berlin Sy4484/01 [Composition]

Lim, L (2016) The turning dance of the bee, for ensemble, 15', Ricordi Berlin, Sy4454/01 [Composition]

Lim, L (2016) City of Falling Angels on CD7, Darmstadt Aural Documents, Box 3 [Audio]

Lim, L (2016) An ocean beyond earth, 16', Ricordi Berlin, Sy.4635 [Composition]


Lim, L. and Ness, J. (2015) Cikada Live at Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival [Audio]

Lim, L (2015) Solitude [Audio]

Lim, L (2015) ‘Creative isomorphism between object, idea and states of consciousness’. In: 2nd International Conference on Music and Consciousness, 14-17 April 2015, Oxford University, UK , p. 7

Lim, L (2015) Tree of Codes, opera (90') for 3 singers and ensemble, libretto by Lim after Jonathan Safran Foer, Bruno Schulz, Goethe & Foucault. Ricordi Berlin Sy.4264/01 [Composition]

Lim, L (2015) Speak, be Silent (18') violin concerto, Ricordi Berlin Sy4433/01 [Composition]


Lim, L (2014) Winding Bodies: 3 Knots for ensemble, Ricordi Berlin, Sy.4378/01 [Composition]

Lim, L (2014) The Weaver's Knot, score for string quartet, Ricordi Berlin Sy.4352 [Composition]


Clarke, E., Doffman, M. and Lim, L. (2013) ‘Distributed Creativity and Ecological Dynamics in Liza Lim’s Tongue of the InvisibleMusic and Letters . ISSN 0027-4224

Lim, L (2013) Tongue of the Invisible, WERGO WER68592 [Audio]

Lim, L (2013) Liza Lim, Orchestral Works [Audio]

Lim, L (2013) ‘A mycelial model for understanding distributed creativity: collaborative partnership in the making of ‘Axis Mundi’ (2013) for solo bassoon’. In: Performance Studies Network Second International Conference 2013, 4th-7th April 2013, Cambridge, UK

Lim, L (2013) Axis Mundi for solo bassoon [Composition]

Lim, L (2013) Wild Winged-One [Audio]


Lim, L (2012) 3 Angels [Composition]

Clarke, E., Doffman, M. and Lim, L. (2012) ‘Distributed Creativity in 'Tongue of the Invisible'’. In: 12th ICMPC -­ 8th  ESCOM  Joint Conference, 23-28 July 2012, Thessaloniki, Greece

Lim, L (2012) ‘Patterns of Ecstasy’. In: Darmstadt contributions to new music. : Schott Musik. pp. 27-43. ISBN 9783795708160

Lim, L (2012) ‘Tongue of the Invisible – Co-creative processes between composition, performance and improvisation’. In: SPEEC: Symposium for Performance of Electronic and Experimental Composition: “Building an Instrument”, 6-7 January 2012, University of Oxford , pp. 1-8


Lim, L (2011) ‘3 AngelsEscalier du Chant (44), pp. 1-4.

Lim, L (2011) Tongue of the Invisible (2011) [Composition]

Lim, L (2011) Gyfu (gift), 2011 [Composition]

Lim, L (2011) Sonorous Body [Audio]


Bellamy, M., Harrison, B., Cassidy, A. and Lim, L. (2010) Transference [Audio]

Cassidy, A., Barrett, R., Johnson, E., H´┐Żbler, K. and Lim, L. (2010) Strange forces [Audio]

Lim, L (2010) Ehwaz (journeying) [Composition]

Lim, L (2010) Songs found in dream [Audio]

Lim, L. and Defilla, P. (2010) Music Viva, Forum der Gegenwarts musik, Musica Viva: Pearl, Ochre, Hair String [Video]

Lim, L (2010) Pearl, Ochre, Hair String [Composition]

Lim, L (2010) Wild Winged One [Audio]

Lim, L (2010) The Guest [Composition]

Lim, L (2010) Invisibility [Audio]


Lim, L (2009) Invisibility [Composition]

Lim, L (2009) ‘Staging an Aesthetics of PresenceSearch: Journal for new music and culture (6).

Lim, L (2009) Ochred String [Audio]

Lim, L (2009) The Four Seasons (after Cy Twombly) [Composition]


Lim, L (2008) The Navigator [Composition]

Lim, L (2008) Sonorous Body [Composition]

Lim, L (2008) Sensorium [Composition]

Lim, L (2008) Well of Dreams [Composition]

Lim, L (2008) The long forgetting [Composition]

Lim, L (2008) Ochred string [Composition]

Lim, L (2008) Weaver-of-fictions [Audio]

Lim, L. and Ford, A. (2008) ‘Liza Lim’. In: Talking to Kinky and Karlheinz. Sydney, Australia: ABC Books. . ISBN 9780733320088


Gruchy, J. and Lim, L. (2007) ‘Alchemical Journeys. Part Two: Liza LimResonate Magazine .

Gruchy, J. and Lim, L. (2007) ‘Alchemical Journeys. Part One: Liza LimResonate Magazine .

Lim, L (2007) Wild-winged one [Composition]

Lim, L (2007) Weaver-of-fictions [Composition]

Lim, L (2007) ‘Red, White, Black: Three stages of illumination’. In: Judith Wright: Conversations. : Judith Wright. pp. 49-52. ISBN 9780646478203


Invited Lectures

2016 Stanford University Composer Colloquium; Beijing Central Conservatory; University of Melbourne; Shanghai Conservatory

2015 Leeds University research forum

2014 Barwick Colloquium Series at Harvard University
; Yong Siew Toh Conservatory (National University of Singapore); RNCM Manchester

2013 CIAN (Commonwealth Creativities in Intercultural Arts Network), University of Cambridge

2012 BathSpa University, University of Cambridge, Künstuniversität Graz, Austria
 (Erasmus Exchange)

2011 University of Oxford (Composer Speaks seminar)

2010 Fondation Royaumont, Internationales Musikinstitut Darmstadt, University of Glasgow, IETM Public Lecture series Melbourne, Sydney and Perth (Australia)

2009 Radial-System Berlin, Institute for Musical Research London (New Directions Seminar), Royal College of Music, New York University Residency (Steinhardt; Arts and Music; China House Research Centre), Manhattan School of Music, RMIT-Spatial Information Architecture Lab Melbourne, National University of Singapore.


International commissions/ grants/ fellowships

2017 Civitella Ranieri Artist’s Residency

2016, Ensemble Modern & DAAD with Goethe Institut Brazil commission & Walter Smetak residency

2014 ‘Leadership in New Music and Audio Technology’ URF Grant to CeReNeM 2015-17, (PI), £281,000; Australia Council Senior Creative Fellowship; Contrechamps commission

2013 Arditti String Quartet; Cikada Ensemble with the Norwegian Arts Council

2012 Ensemble musikFabrik and HELLERAU-European Centre for Contemporary Art with Cologne opera

2011 Holland Festival/ Musikfabrik; Internationalen Musikwettbewerb der ARD;
Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart with Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich

2011 British Academy grant ‘Distributed Creativity’ collaboration with Oxford

2010 Donaueschinger Musiktage (SWR Orchestra); Bavarian Radio Orchestra

2009 International Trumpet Guild; Fondation Royaumont

2009 University Research Grant for ‘Performing the Body’
 (PI), £50,000

2008 Ian Potter Senior Composer Fellowship

2007-08 DAAD Artist-in-residence Berlin Award


Major performances & portrait concerts

2016 Ultraschall Berlin; Cologne opera season; Hellerau Dresden; Tage für neue music Zurich (featured composer); Bendigo International Festival of Exploratory Music

2015 Klangforum Wien (Vienna Konzerthaus)

2014 Miller Theatre Portrait Concert in New York with International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE)
; Premieres at Wittenertage, Ultima Festival Oslo, Klangspuren Schwaz, Warsaw Autumn, Strasbourg Musica Festival

2013 BBC Symphony London; Orquestra Sinfonica do Porto with soloist Jeremias Schwarzer

2012 BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, BBC Hear and Now

2011 Holland Festival Portrait; WDR Concert Portrait

2010 Musica Viva Munich; Donaueschinger Musiktage; West Australian Symphony Orchestra season

2009 Musica Nova Helsinki; Festival d’Automne à Paris; Hybrid-Arts Festival Berlin; Chekhov International Theatre Festival Moscow

2008 Maerzmusik Berlin featured composer; Brisbane Festival; Melbourne International Festival of the Arts; Festival d’Automne à Paris



2012 Winner, Music Theatre Now for ‘The Navigator’ opera


External Examiner/assessor

2015 & 2016 External examiner PhDs, Sydney Conservatorium, University of Sydney

2014 External examiner PhD, Kings College London

2012 External examiner PhD, Durham University

External Assessor for appointments at Coventry, York, Kent, Salford, Monash University


Advisory Boards

2016 Advisory Board, Ricordi Lab, http://www.ricordi-lab.com

2012 Member of Akademie der Künst der Welt, Cologne

2011-14 Member Advisory Council Institute of Musical Research, London

2008- Board Member Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival


International Juries & Summer schools

2016 Beijing International Composition Workshop, guest professor

2015 Jury member Jean Sibelius Composition Competition, Finland

2014 Guest Director Irish Composers Summer School; Jury member ‘Nutrire la Musica’ EXPO 2015 Milano

2012 Jury member Synthermia Composition Award (Thessaloniki); Prix Annelie de Man (Holland); Ensemble Intercontemporain Paris and Royal Danish Academy of Music composers competition

2010 'Voix Nouvelles' composition course of Fondation Royaumont (France); Internationales Musikinstitut Darmstadt (Germany).

Jury member 2010 Incontri Internazionali Franco Donatoni (Milan)


Journal editor

Founding editor of Divergence Press, www.divergencepress.com


Teaching Awards

2014 University of Huddersfield ‘Thank-you Award’ for Excellence in Student Support; nominations for ‘Inspirational Teaching’ and ‘Feedback & Assessment’

Fellow of Higher Education Academy, UK



Broadcasts, radio: ABC, BBC, SWR, WDR, Deutschlandfunk etc. Broadcasts, tv: Arte (feature made by Pandore tv); Bayern-Alpha (feature made by BR-Alpha); International Press 2014: The New Yorker, Wall Street Journal; Sydney Morning Herald, Australian, The Age; Written features: journals eg: Tempo (2011), Sound and Music (2010); books: eg: Kerry, G.(2009) New Classical Music, Composing Australia, UNSW Press, 2009; Subject of studies on Musical Creativity: Burnard, P. (2012) ‘Musical Creativities in Practice, Cambridge: C.U.P.; Music education kit: Walker, K. (2012) 'The Music of Liza Lim'. Sydney: Australian Music Centre.


Research Degree Supervision

Prof. Lim supervises PhD and MA by research students in composition, particularly portfolios exploring the following areas:

  • Contemporary music theatre/opera
  • Interdisciplinary practice, installation-based collaborative work
  • Extended vocal and instrumental writing (including non-western instruments) and issues of performance practice and notation
  • Non-western aesthetics and intercultural issues

Current PhD composition students:

Chikako Morishita Composing ‘Narrative dissolution’

Pia Palme Composing the Noise of Mind

Lee Chie Tsang Cultural transmission and transformation

David Pocknee The quantization of sound, art & knowledge

Daniel Portelli Interdisciplinary perspectives for a compositional practice

Christian Morales Ossio Emergences and Collaborative Practice:

Articulating a Recursive and Extended System of Music Composition


Supervisory team for: Michael Baldwin, Beavan Flanagan, Cassandra Miller


Recent completions:


Chong Kee Yong (2016) Multi-layered ethnic and cultural influences in my musical compositions

Clara Maida (2015) For a ‘nanomusic’; Sound nanomachines and elastic space-time

Barbara Ellison (2014) Sonic Phantoms [Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence]

Pedro Alvarez (2014) A situational approach to composition [Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence]

Matthew Sergeant (2013) the eleven churches of lalibela: erosion and encrustation as transformation of musical structures [Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence; co-supervision, Dr Bryn Harrison]

Tamara Friebel (2013) Generative Transcriptions: An Opera of the Self

Eilon Morris (2013) VIA RYTHMÓS: An investigation of rhythm in Psychophysical Actor Training (co-supervision, Dr Deborah Middleton, drama)



Robert Dahm (2012) Framing Intention: Perceptual agency in the compositional process of recent pieces


MA (res), all awarded with distinction

Michael Baldwin (2012) Reflections on ephemerality and notation in recent work

Lee Chie Tsang (2012) Chinese calligraphic thinking in my compositional work
Chikako Morishita (2011) ‘Ma’, a Japanese aesthetics of time and space

Enterprise Activities

HCR CD label in partnership with Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival and NMC Recordings

Administrative Responsibilities

Director of Centre for Research in New Music (CeReNeM)

Teaching and Professional Activities

CeReNeM Seminars

MRes and PhD supervision

Undergraduate Composition Masterclass (2nd & 3rd year)