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Lisa Illean : Associate Artist

Random Audio Sample: Januaries : large chamber ensemble by Lisa Illean, from the CD Composers' academy

Photo of Lisa Illean

Photo: Catherine Pyle

Lisa Illean is an Australian composer of acoustic and acousmatic music, based in London. Her music has been described as "exquisitely quiet shadows shaded with microtunings" (The Sydney Morning Herald) and "a compelling exercise in stillness and quietude" (The Australian). Works span pieces written for orchestra to those commissioned for new, prepared or adapted instruments, and sound works conceived for unique spaces.

" [Illean] shows an extraordinary sensitivity to colour and timbre and creates an absorbing sound-world which lingers after listening." - Australian Art Music Awards

"Illean's is a distinctive and original new voice in the landscape and her work was realised here by the SSO with tender care." - The Sydney Morning Herald

Listen here

Her ensemble works have been performed internationally in venues ranging from Royal Festival Hall toCarriageworks' industrial bays in Sydney. Recent commissions include three works for voice and acoustic instruments/electronics:

A set of intimate pieces for soprano Juliet Fraser and pre-recorded sound titled A through-grown earth;

Sleeplessness … Sails (written for Sarah Connolly and Joseph Middleton for the 2018 BBC Proms Chamber Series)

Cantor, created for Jessica Aszodi and Ensemble Offspring with the support of the APRA AMCOS Art Music Fund. Cantor was awarded Instrumental Work of the Year at the 2018 Australian Art Music Awards.

Land's End was commissioned by Sydney Sumphony Orchestra in 2015 for their premiere season at Carriageworks, while Rose and Januaries were written for members of London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Philharmonia Orchestra respectively. Lisa has also worked with BBC and Melbourne Symphony Orchestras, and has made site-specific sound pieces for the Arts Centre, Melbourne, and the Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver.

She is completing doctoral research at the Royal College of Music studying with Jonathan Cole. This arose out of her work with non-tempered tuning systems, and her compositions paying close attention to sonority, subtly unfolding harmonic forms, auditory phenomena and perspective (for which she was awarded the RCM's Cobbett & Hurlstone prize for outstanding creative achievement).

October, 2018


Lisa Illean — current to October 2018

Teacher/Influence on

Chris Williams

Awards & Prizes

Year Award Placing Awarded for
2018 Art Music Awards: Work of the Year: Instrumental Winner Cantor (after Willa Cather)

Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
Rose (clarinet with chamber orchestra) Commissioned by London Philharmonic Orchestra.
Sleeplessness ... Sails : mezzo-soprano voice with piano (2018) Commissioned by the BBC for the 2018 Proms Chamber series at Cadogan Hall
Weather a Rare Blue (sextets: flute, clarinet, piano, violin, viola, cello with pre-recorded sound) (2018) Commissioned by Explore Ensemble.
Further In Summer : orchestra (2017) Monash University Ed Byrne Commission
Cantor (after Willa Cather) : soprano with ensemble (2017) The creation of 'Cantor' was generously supported by the 2016 APRA AMCOS Art Music Fund
Cranes : viola solo (2017) Commissioned by Phoebe Green.

Analysis & Media

- Video: Cantor, by Lisa Ilean, after texts by Willa Cather