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Kate Milligan : Associate Artist

My most recent work contributes to the conversation around climate change, and promotes solidarity with the more-than-human. I’m interested in how self-organising natural systems might be thought of as creative, and incorporated into composition and music-making.

Photo of Kate Milligan

Photo: Olivia Davies

Kate Milligan (b. 1996) is a Western Australian composer, designer, and musicologist currently based in the United Kingdom. Her current work addresses theories of temporality, ecology, and the posthuman, asking questions of musical subjectivity into the deep future. At the audio-visual intersection, these works often include exploratory music notation, using a range of new media technology.

She has been commissioned by electro-acoustic ensembles and projects across Australia and the UK, including the London Symphony Orchestra Soundhub, Decibel New Music Ensemble, the Australian National Academy of Music, the Summers Night Project, and the Perth Orchestra Project. Her sound design is exhibited internationally, including at Post Territory Ujeongguk (KR), Theatreship (UK), and the 2023 IRCAM Forum for spatial sound (FR). She has won funding from the Arts Council England, Creative Australia, APRA/AMCOS, and the Western Australian DLGSC, amongst others.

With a background in feminist musicology, her music-making often engages critically with institutions and ideology. Her writing on new music and art is published in both popular and academic contexts, notably including 'Limelight' and 'TEMPO: A Quarterly Review of New Music', Cambridge University Press. Having been appointed the inaugural Conducting Fellow at Perth Symphony Orchestra in 2020, she has written extensively about gender in this hyper-visible profession, and about musical-discursive intersections with popular and neoliberal feminisms.

Kate is a graduate of Information Experience Design at the Royal College of Art, London. This study was generously supported by the Schenberg Music Fellowship and the Ian Potter Cultural Trust. She also holds a MMus (musicology) and a BA(Hons) (composition) from The University of Western Australia, where she studied with James Ledger and Chris Tonkin, and under the supervision of Doctors Sarah Collins and Cecilia Sun.

She is currently working on independent research into exploratory music notation, asking how water can impact this visual language. This material approach to notation integrates physical media (self-organising fluid systems) with musical iconography. This research, supported by Arts Council England, is part of a larger project about posthuman approaches to music-making in the context of the climate crisis.

Biography provided by the composer — current to July 2024

Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
Visions | Vestiges : for bass clarinet, cello, percussion and electronics (2023) Commissioned by the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) as part of the Soundhub Emerging Composers Initiative.
Glitchmas : for SATB choir with division (2023) Commissioned by Voyces (The Choral Collective)
Lux Levis : for violin, piano and electronics (2022) Commissioned by The ANAM Set, Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM).
Migrations : for electronics, string quintet, piccolo, and four flutes (2019) This work was commissioned by Izaak Wesson on behalf of the Perth Orchestra Project.