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Lim, Liza


Tree of Codes • [2015]
‘Cut-outs in time’ - An opera
For 2 singers, 16 instrumentalists and electronics
Duration: 80’
World Premiere: 9.04.2016, Cologne

The Navigator (2007)
Opera in six scenes and a prelude. Libretto by Patricia Sykes
For 5 singers, 16 instrumentalists and electronics
Duration: 90’
Premiere: 29 July 2008, Brisbane Festival


The Guest • [2010]
For orchestra with recorder soloist
Recorder (Barock-A.Rec. Tenor-Ganassi)
2 (2 Picc. A.Fl). 2 (Eng.Hn.). 1. B.Cl. (Cb.Kl.). 1. Cbn. / 2 . 2. Picctr. 2 (ATbn). Eu. 0. / 3 Perc (Cim). / 6. 6. 6. 6. 3.
Premiere: 15.10.2010, Donaueschingen
Duration: 2’
Sy. 4062 // *Score / Vx. // Ricordi Berlin

Pearl, Ochre, Hair String • [2010]
For orchestra
2. Picc. 2. Eng.Hn. 1. B.Cl. Cb.Cl. 2. Cbn. / 4. 3. 2. Btbn. 1 (Btb). / Timp. 2 Perc / Str.
Premiere: 9.7.2010, Munich
Duration: 18’
Sy. 4041 // *Score / Vx. // Ricordi Berlin

The Compass • [2005-06]
For large orchestra with solo flute & didgeridoo
4Fl (3.4.picc) 3Ob, Cor Ang, Cl eflat, 2 Cl b flat, Bass Cl, 3Bsn, Cbsn-
4Hn, 4Tpt, 4Tbn (4.tenor-bass), Tuba - 3Perc – Piano - Strings
Duration: 25’
Premiere: 17 May 2006, Sydney Opera House

Flying Banner (after Wang To) • [2005]
Fanfare for orchestra
2Picc, 1Fl, 2Ob, Cor Ang, Cl eflat, Cl b flat, Bass Cl, 2Bsn, Cbsn-2Hn, Picc Tpt, Tpt, 2Tbn, Bass Tbn – Timp - 1Perc (5 Chinese gongs, 3 wood blocks, 2 temple blocks, high tom-tom)-Strings
Duration: 9’
Premiere: 8 March 2006, Sydney Opera House

Immer fliessender • [2004]
For large orchestra
Picc, 3Pl, 3Ob, Cor Ang, Cl eflat, 3Cl in A, Bass Cl, 3Bsn, Cbsn-4Hn, 3Tpt, 3Tbn, Bass Tuba - 2Timp, 2Perc – 2Harp - Strings
Duration: 8½'
Premiere: 18 May 2005, Sydney Opera House


Extinction Events and Dawn Chorus • [2018]
for twelve musicians - - pf - perc -
Duration: 38'
WP: 29.04.2018, Witten

Ronda - The Spinning World
• [2016]
for nine musicians
Duration: 16’
Premiere: 25.02.2017, Frankfurt

The turning dance of the bee • [2015]
for sextet
Duration: 13’
Premiere: 17.11.2016, Zürich

How Forests Think • [2015/2016]
for sheng and 9 instruments
Duration: 35’
Premiere: 03.09.2016, Bendigo

Speak, be silent • [2015]
violin concerto with ensemble of 15 musicians
1.1.1.sax.1 – – perc. – pnf.hrf. –
Duration: 20’
Premiere: 29.09.2015, Geneva

Winding Bodies: 3 Knots [2014]
Al Fl, BCl, Pno, Perc, hardingfele, vln, va, vc, db
Premiere: 11.09.14, Ultima Festival Oslo
Duration: 15’
Sy. 4378/01 // Score // Ricordi Berlin

Tongue of the Invisible • [2010-11]
A work for improvising pianist, baritone and 16 musicians
1. At dawn I heard the tongue of the invisible; 2. Between the pages of the world (i); 3. This door is the mouth of love; 4. Between the pages of the world (ii); 5. The roots of the world are entwined in the wind; 6. Between the pages of the world (iii); 7. Encircling its towers with a silver coronet of song; 8. Our embraces are a banquet of revolving time
Text: Jonathan Holmes (after Poems by  Sufi Poet Hafez)
Pno. (prep). Bar.
1 (A.Fl. Picc). 1 (Lupophon). 1 (B.Cl). A.Sax (Bar.Sax). 1 (Contraforte). / 1. 1 (double bell tpt. Flh ) Tbtbn. 0. Eu. / Dms. Cim. / 1. 1. 1. 1. 1.
Premiere: 08.06.2011, Amsterdam
Duration: 60’
Sy. 4063 // *Score / Vx. // Ricordi Berlin

Mother Tongue • [2005]
For Soprano & 15 instruments
Text by Patricia Sykes
Sop, 2 Fl(2nd picc), Ob, Cl, Bass Cl, Alto/Bar Sax, Bsn/C Bsn,
Tpt, Tbn, 1 Perc, 2 Vln, Vla, Vc, D Bass
Duration: 36’
Premiere: 30 November 2005, Paris, Ensemble Intercontemporain, conductor Jonathan Nott

Sensorium • [2007]
Concert version of Scene 2 of The Navigator.
Text by Patricia Sykes
for soprano, counter-tenor, tenor Ganassi recorder/Paetzold contrabass recorder, viola d'amore, Baroque triple harp
Duration: 12’
Premiere: 09.03.08, Berlin

Songs found in dream
• [2005]
For 8 musicians
Ob, Bass Cl, Alto Sax, Trumpet, 2 Perc, Vc, D Bass
Duration: 16’
Premiere: 20 August 2005, Mozarteum Salzburg


The Weaver’s Knot • [2013-14]
string quartet (2 vlns, va, vc)
Premiere: 10.05.2014, Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik 2014 
Duration: 6’
Sy. 4352 // Score // Ricordi Berlin

Ehwaz (journeying) • [2010]
For trumpet and percussion 
Tr (in C). percussion (6 glass bottles, 3 Thai gongs, 4 ceramic bowls, vibraphone)
Premiere: 10.7.2010, Sydney 
Duration: 15’ 
Sy. 4050 // Score // Ricordi Berlin

Ochred String • [2007]
For oboe, viola, viola, cello
Duration: 14’

Shimmer Songs • [2006]
“double quartet”
For string quartet (2 Vln, Vla, Vc), harp, 3 perc
Duration: 15’
Premiere 2007, San Francisco

In the Shadow's Light • [2004]
For string quartet (2 Vln, Vla, Vc)
Duration: 26’
Premiere 29 November 2005, Paris, Kairos

The Quickening • [2004-05]
For Soprano and qin (Chinese zither)
Text by Yang Lian
Duration: 22’
Premiere: 29 November 2005, Paris


3 Angels • [2011]
for three singers
C Sop. Msop. BBar.
Duration: 5’
Premiere: 25.09.2011, Munich, Pinakothek der Moderne
Sy. 4081 // Score // Ricordi Berlin


An ocean beyond earth • [2016]
for solo cello (prepared with thread & violin)
Duration: 15’
Premiere: 09.09.2016, Melbourne

The Green Lion eats the Sun • [2012]
for double bell euphonium
Duration: 10’
Premiere: 19.04.2015, Cologne

Axis mundi • [2013]
For bassoon solo 
Duration: 10’
Premiere: 4.3.2013, Cologne
Sy. 4263 // Score // Ricordi Berlin

Gyfu (gift) • [2011]
For oboe solo 
Duration: 10’
Premiere: 4.9.2011, Munich
Sy. 4073 // *Score // Ricordi Berlin

Invisibility • [2009] • Work description
for violoncello and two bows 
Vc. 2 bows
Duration: 12’
Premiere: 26.11.2009, Huddersfield
Sy. 4042 // *Score // Ricordi Berlin

The Four Seasons (after Cy Twombly)
• [2008]
for solo piano
Duration: c 40’
Premiere: 10 February 2009, Helsinki

Well of Dreams • [2008]
For solo alto trombone
Duration: 5’
Premiere: 15 March 2008, Berlin

Sonorous Body • [2008]
for solo b flat clarinet
Duration: 12’
Premiere: 15 March 2008, Berlin

Weaver-of-fictions • [2007]
(Prelude to The Navigator)
for alto Ganassi recorder
Duration: 5’
Premiere: 26 May 2007, Melbourne

The long forgetting • [2007]
for tenor Ganassi recorder
Duration: 5’
Premiere: 15 March 2008, Berlin,

Wild-winged one • [2007]
for solo trumpet
Duration: 8’
Premiere: 6 September 2007, Berlin

Philtre • [1997]
for solo violin (scordatura) or Hardanger fiddle
Duration: 5’
Premiere: 15 March 1998, Amsterdam

More works by Liza Lim were published by Ricordi Milan.

Click here for the full work list


Liza Lim: a portrait by Tim Rutherford-Johnson

Liza Lim (*30.8.1966 Perth / Australia) writes music marked by visceral energy and vibrant colour and often explores ritual forms and performance aesthetics from Asian and Australian Aboriginal cultural sources. Some recurring themes in her work include ‘hiddenness and revelation’, ‘violence and meditation’ and ecstatic transformation.

Her music, which ranges from operatic and orchestral scores to site-specific installations, has been performed by some of the world's pre-eminent ensembles. Notably, she was commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic to write the orchestral work, Ecstatic Architecture, to celebrate the inaugural season of the Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall in 2004. She was composer-in-residence with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in 2005 and 2006. She has received major commissions from organisations such as the Bavarian Radio and SWR Orchestras, Ensemble musikFabrik & Holland Festival, Ensemble InterContemporain, Ensemble Modern, ELISION, the Arditti String Quartet (Milano Musica), Salzburg Festival, Lucerne Festival, Festival d’Automne à Paris, WDR Orchestra & Choir and BBC Symphony as well as the Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth Festivals.

In 2014, the Miller Theatre in New York presents a portrait concert of her music performed by the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE). Recent projects have been based on the Sufi poetry of Hafez: Tongue of the Invisible, a 1-hour work written for jazz pianist Uri Caine, baritone Omar Ebrahim and Ensemble musikFabrik, and The Guest, for recorder soloist Jeremias Schwarzer and the Southwest German Radio Orchestra. She has written a string quartet The Weaver’s Knot to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Arditti String Quartet for Wittenertage 2014. Current projects include a chamber work for the Norwegian Cikada Ensemble as well as a new opera Tree of Codes commissioned by Oper Köln in association with Ensemble musikFabrik and Hellerau European Centre for the Arts in co-operation with Theatre Company Prod.23 and festival partners for a premiere in 2015.

She has been closely associated with the Australian ELISION Ensemble for over 20 years with projects including 3 operas: The Oresteia (1993), Moon Spirit Feasting (1999) and The Navigator (2008) performed in Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Tokyo, Moscow, Paris, Zurich and Berlin. Awards include the Paul Lowin Prize, DAAD Artist-in-residence Berlin 2007-08 and Ian Potter Foundation Senior Fellowship. She was appointed a member of the Akademie der Künste der Welt Cologne in 2012 and curated the music programme for the opening ‘Cutting Edge’ festival. Since 2008, she is Professor of Composition and Director of the Centre for Research in New Music at the University of Huddersfield. In her research, she is interested in connecting her compositional practice to areas such as Australian Indigenous aesthetics (‘shimmer’) and non-western epistemologies of time and space; weaving and knots as a metaphorical ‘technology for thinking’; material translation, empathy and intuition in an ecology of collaboration; and distributed creativities. Her compositions are published by Casa Ricordi (Milano, London & Berlin) and on CDs with Hat Hut, ABC-Classics, HCR, Neos, WERGO, Dischi Ricordi and Vox Australis.