Liza Lim: Tailor of Time & Multispecies Knots of Ethical Time

Liza Lim: Tailor of Time & Multispecies Knots of Ethical Time

Under direction from Pierre Bleuse, the Ensemble intercontemporain presented the world premiere of Liza Lim’s Tailor of Time at the Festival Musica Strasbourg. The composer found inspiration for the piece in Sufi philosophy of Persian poet and mystic Jelaluddin Rumi (1207-1273). Alongside the well-known ensemble, soloists Philippe Grauvogel (Oboe) and Valeria Kafelnikov (Harp) proved their abilities. The piece returns to the stage in November at the Festival d’Automne in Paris, this time under the direction of Enno Poppe, who, after its French premiere at Festival Musica Strasbourg, will present his new piece Blumen at the same concert.

On 19 November 2023, Lucerne Festival Forward premieres another work in which Liza Lim explores the theme of time: Multispecies Knots of Ethical Time is a composition for 15 musicians, gestural performer, and video, to be performed by the Ensemble of the Lucerne Festival Contemporary Orchestra (LFCO) and gestural performer Winnie Huang.

The Tailor of Time

Rumi’s poetry is suffused with paradoxical images of making and unmaking, absence and presence. The way he weaves ideas together is very much part of the Sufi ethos of teaching through stories and images of humble craftsmanship and everyday things to point to subtle messages of spiritual alchemy and transformation. His poetry often revolves around images of longing and erotic desire, bewilderment and annihilation in the face of Divine love. The Sufi poetic repertoire provides a clue to the two soloists in the work: the oboe and harp. Again and again in Rumi’s work, we find references to the crying of the ‘reed flute’ as a figure for the way that Divine breath comes through us into the world, and to the plucked strings of the lute as a symbol for the spiritual longing of the Lover’s heart strings.

In Rumi’s lines, Time is a ‘tailor’ continually tearing, altering, molding us and the world.

For me, this resonates with my compositional questions around time, temporality and the use of recurrence, repetition and interpolation as musical tools.
—Liza Lim
Read more in Liza's insightful blog post

Score of The Tailor of Time


From 25 October, a stream of the concert will be available on France Musique.

Go to stream

Video shoot for Multispecies Knots of Ethical Time

Multispecies Knots of Ethical Time

This is a work about time: about our individual Finiteness and about the ecological crisis. The protagonist is a river – a symbol for transience and (endangered) continuity. In a video by Morena Barra, the performer Winnie Huang communicates with the life-worlds of the river. The River Being's polyphonic voices open up the possibility of a radical imagination of otherness and an expanded sense of personhood. This work is part of a larger project to join the arts to wider movements of multispecies justice that take up the moral, political and legal claims of animals, plants, rivers, forests and ecosystems, as bound up with the fate and well-being of humans..
—Liza Lim
Read more in the Lucerne Festival online magazine

Photos: Ensemble intercontemporain, Lucerne Festival