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Karen Lemon : Associate Artist

Music is joy; and joy is indispensable to a life well lived. Surrender to it!

Photo of Karen Lemon

Photo: Karen Lemon

Artist website: https://karen-lemon.com/

Australian composer Karen Lemon (b.1961) counts amongst her qualifications a PhD in Musicology from the University of Sydney (on Schoenberg's post-tonal music c.1910) and a License in Dalcroze Eurhythmics from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA. However her career as a composer is in its early stages: despite minor studies in composition in her undergraduate days (with Anne Boyd and Gillian Whitehead, amongst others), it has only been in recent years that Karen has returned to it. She has been privileged to have had her music performed in locations as far afield as Los Angeles, New York and Cambridge, and by such distinguished performers as Thomas Hutchinson, Artur Cimirro and Gwion Thomas. Karen has composed music by commission or on request for CAMS, Hourglass Ensemble and the University of Bristol Schola Cantorum, and several of her works have been prizewinners in composition competitions, including Gesualdo Six, the Renée B. Fisher Award and Opus Dissonus.

As a performer, though Karen is a pianist by training (having studied at the NSW State Conservatorium of Music with Albert Landa and Adene McInnes), she was most active as a chorister and vocalist, notably as a foundation and lifetime member of the Sydney-based new music choir The Contemporary Singers and as founder and director of and arranger for the pop-jazz a cappella ensemble The Five Skins. Perhaps as a result, her compositional style is pluralistic - a nod toward jazz in one direction, as in Tangent Blues for flute and piano (2017), and toward mainstream art music in the other, as in her setting of Bonhoeffer's Abendgebet for male vocal sextet (2018). In either stylistic direction there is sometimes a hint of humour, as in Pas de pas de deux for two violins (2019).

Karen has worked as a lecturer in Musicology at the University of Sydney and the University of Tasmania. She currently divides her time between Australia and France.

Karen Lemon — current to March 2020

Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
Digital sheet music sample Alleluia Perenne, Amen : for SSA choir (2018) Composed at the request of the University of Bristol Schola Cantorum

Analysis & Media

- Video: Tangent Blues