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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

Lisa Illean is a composer based in the U.K., where she has worked with BBC Symphony, London Philharmonic and Philharmonia Orchestras, and young soloists of the highest calibre. 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), and her work for soprano and ensemble, Cantor, was named Instrumental Work of the Year at the 2018 Australian Art Music Awards.

Illean composes for orchestral and chamber forces, new, prepared or adapted instruments, and writes sound works conceived for unique spaces. Her music has been performed worldwide, with recent commissions from BBC SSO, Ensemble Intercontemporain, Radio France's Festival Présences, Donaueschinger Musiktage/Experimental Studio des SWR, BBC Proms, London Sinfonietta, Juliet Fraser/Explore Ensemble and Ukaria Cultural Centre/Finding Our Voice. Her pieces A through-grown earth and Januaries have been distributed by NMC Recordings. Lisa Illean is published by Faber Music.

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

"a subtle, mesmerising work" - Classic Melbourne

" … Février, œuvre toute en finesse, en douceur…" - vieillecarne

" the work's sensitive connection to visual art is expressed in music of 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 May 2023

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.
arcing, stilling, bending, gathering (piano with chamber ensemble) (2022) Commissioned by Ukaria Arts Centre, Britten Sinfonia, Finding Our Voice.
A through-grown earth : for soprano, chamber ensemble of five players, and pre-recorded sound (2021) Commissioned with the assistance of ACE.
Tiding : guitar solo (2021) Commissioned by London Sinfonietta for its Sinfonietta Shorts series
Tiding II (saxophone with chamber ensemble) (2021) Commissioned by the SWR for Donaueschinger Musiktage
février (trios: clarinet, piano, cello) (2019) Commissioned by Radio France

Analysis & Media

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