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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: Dimitri Djuric

Lisa Illean is a 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.

Her ensemble works have been performed internationally, across Europe, North America, Asia and Australia, in venues ranging from Royal Festival Hall to Carriageworks' industrial bays in Sydney. Recent commissions include a set of intimate pieces for soprano Juliet Fraser and pre-recorded sound titled A through-grown earth, and Cantor, which was awarded Instrumental Work of the Year at the 2018 Australian Art Music Awards.

Lisa has been commissioned to compose works for Sydney Symphony Orchestra, BBC Proms, Philharmonia Orchestra, the Arts Centre, Melbourne, and Radio France.


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

"...a subtle, mesmerising work" (Classic Melbourne)

" the work's sensitive connection to visual art is expressed in music of seductive and evocative beauty." (Operachaser)

"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)

Lisa Illean — current to September 2019

Teacher/Influence on

Chris Williams

Awards & Prizes

Year Award Placing Awarded for
2018 Art Music Awards: Work of the Year: Instrumental Winner Cantor

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.
Januaries : large chamber ensemble (2017) Commissioned by the Royal Philharmonic Society for the Philharmonia Orchestra (RPS Composition Prize 2016).
Cranes : viola solo (2017) Commissioned by Phoebe Green.
Further In Summer : orchestra (2017) Monash University Ed Byrne Commission

Analysis & Media

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