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Holly Harrison : Associate Artist

Photo of Holly Harrison

Photo: Steve Broadbent

Holly Harrison is a young Australian composer from Western Sydney. Holly's music is driven by the nonsense literature of Lewis Carroll, embracing stylistic juxtapositions, the visceral energy of rock, and whimsical humour.

Holly's work Lobster Tales and Turtle Soup featured on Eighth Blackbird's (USA) Australian tour as part of Musica Viva's 2017 International Concert Season. The tour included performances by the four-time Grammy award-winning group at Perth International Arts Festival and Adelaide Festival. Upcoming projects include a concertino for bassoon and string quartet for Matthew Kneale (2017 Freedman Classical Fellowship winner) and Omega Ensemble, a sextet for Sydney new music champions Ensemble Offspring, a children's work for the Canberra International Music Festival, and a piece for Brisbane-based Kupka's Piano. She has recently completed a piece for shakuhachi legend Riley Lee and Enigma Quartet, and the required string quartet work for the 2018 Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition.

Holly was the inaugural winner of the 2017 Sue W Chamber Music Composition Prize, awarded to an Australian female composer, for her work Lobster Tales and Turtle Soup. She was awarded first place at the 2014 Young Composers Meeting in Apeldoorn, The Netherlands, for Cabbages and Kings, and in 2013 was the winner of the inaugural Pyeongchon Arts Hall International Chamber Music Composition Competition (South Korea) with Red Queen, White Queen, Alice and All. Holly was a resident composer at the 2014 Mizzou International Composers Festival (USA) with Alarm Will Sound, and was one of two winners of The Riot Ensemble's (UK) 2014 Call for Scores.

Her works have been performed at festivals including Gaudeamus Muziekweek 2014/2016 (NL), November Music (NL), Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music (USA), Perth International Arts Festival, Adelaide Festival, Australian Music Day, Limelight Australian Composition Seminar, Creativity Unlimited, Asian Composers' League Festival (TWN), and Now Hear This Festival (CAN). Holly's music has been performed in Australia, Asia, Europe, and the USA by ensembles and artists including Orkest de Ereprijs, Alarm Will Sound, Ensemble Offspring, Sydney Symphony Fellows, RKST21 (Ereprijs and Het Gelders Orkest), Michael Kieran Harvey and Timothy Phillips, Caroline Cartens, Sydney Youth Orchestras, The Riot Ensemble, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, The Sound Collectors, The Violet Collective, Minot Symphony Orchestra, Hwaum Chamber Orchestra, Georgia Tech Strings, and National Taiwan Normal University Orchestra.

Holly currently teaches composition at MLC School, Burwood, and was previously composer in residence at Prairiewood High School. She completed a Doctor of Creative Arts under the supervision of Bruce Crossman and John Encarnacao at Western Sydney University, where she is currently a sessional academic.

Holly also plays drum kit and percussion in the improvised rock duo Tabua-Harrison with Joey Tabua (electric guitar). Their debut record Scout has just been released by Psychopyjama.

Holly Harrison — current to July 2018

Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
Airbender (quintets: bassoon, 2 violins, viola, cello) (2018) Commissioned as part of the Canberra Symphony Orchestra Australian Series 2018
Digital sheet music sample Balderdash : for string quartet (2017) Commissioned for the 2018 Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition
Digital sheet music sample Vibe rant : for flute/piccolo, bass clarinet/clarinet, and vibraphone (2016) Commissioned by Greg Dickson, Penny Le Couteur.
Digital sheet music sample Lobster tales and turtle soup : for flute/piccolo, clarinet in Bb/bass clarinet, violin, cello, percussion, and piano (2016) Commissioned with support from Geoff Stearn and the Hildegard Project
Digital sheet music sample Frogstomp : for flute/piccolo, bass clarinet and percussion (2015) Commissioned by Greg Dickson, Penny Le Couteur.
Cabbages and kings : mezzo-soprano voice with chamber ensemble (2014) Commissioned as part of the 20th Young Composers Meeting, Apeldoorn, the Netherlands