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Holly Harrison : Associate Artist

Random Audio Sample: Bend/Boogie/Break : sextet by Holly Harrison, from the CD Offspring Bites 3: En Masse

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. She is the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra's composer in residence across 2020 and 2021.

Holly's music has been performed in Australia, Asia, Europe, and the USA. 2021 sees premieres from Australia Ensemble, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Goldner Quartet, Ku-ring-gai Philharmonic Orchestra, Coriole Music Festival, Kiazma, and soloists Matt Kneale, Lloyd Van't Hoff, and Owen Morris. Her music will feature on releases from Ensemble Offspring, Alicia Crossley, Riley Lee and Enigma Quartet, and the Australian String Quartet. In 2021, Holly is a mentor for Omega Ensemble's inaugural CoLAB program for pre-professional composers.

Highlights include the Australian Youth Orchestra touring Frumious internationally in 2019, and writing the rock-inspired Balderdash as the set string quartet work for the 2018 Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition. Holly's Lobster Tales and Turtle Soup featured on Eighth Blackbird's (USA) Australian tour as part of Musica Viva's 2017 International Concert Season. Eighth Blackbird's performance was later awarded Performance of the Year at the 2018 Art Music Awards.

Holly is the recipient of numerous awards. She was the inaugural winner of the 2017 Sue W Chamber Music Composition Prize, awarded to an Australian female composer, and was a winner of Nu Deco Ensemble's 2018 Nu Works Initiative. She was awarded first place at the 2014 Young Composers Meeting in Apeldoorn, The Netherlands, chaired by Louis Andriessen, and was the winner of the 2013 Pyeongchon Arts Hall International Chamber Music Composition Competition (South Korea). She 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 the 2020 String Quartet Biennale Amsterdam (NL), Gaudeamus Muziekweek (NL), November Music (NL), LA Phil's Noon to Midnight (USA), Sound of Sweden (SWE), Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music (USA), Perth International Arts Festival, Adelaide Festival, Canberra International Music Festival, Four Winds Festival, Asian Composers' League Festival (TWN), Port Fairy Spring Music Festival, and Now Hear This Festival (CAN). Holly's music has been performed by ensembles and artists including the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Australian Youth Orchestra, Monash Academy Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Peabody Studio Orchestra, Ensemble Offspring, Nu Deco Ensemble and Jessica Jones, Omega Ensemble, Goldmund Quartett, Orkest de Ereprijs, Rubiks Collective, Sydney Symphony Fellows, Riley Lee and Enigma Quartet, The Hourglass Ensemble, The Sound Collectors, 2Hz, Lloyd Van't Hoff, and Ensemble Garage.

Holly teaches composition at The King's School and Caroline Chisholm College. She was previously composer in residence at MLC School, Burwood NSW. She completed a Doctor of Creative Arts at Western Sydney University, where she worked for a number of years as a sessional academic co-ordinating performance and composition units.

Holly also plays drum kit and percussion in the improvised rock duo Tabua-Harrison with Joey Tabua (electric guitar). Their debut record Scout is available on Psychopyjama.

Holly Harrison — current to November 2020

Awards & Prizes

Year Award Placing Awarded for
2021 Art Music Awards: Work of the Year: Large Ensemble Finalist Splinter

Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
Hellbent (trumpet with orchestra) Commissioned by Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.
Digital sheet music sample Splinter : for wind ensemble (2020) This version commissioned by Consortium
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
Vibe rant : for flute/piccolo, bass clarinet/clarinet, and vibraphone (2016) Commissioned by Penny Le Couteur, Greg Dickson.
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