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May Lyon : Associate Artist

I cannot imagine life without music, in all its various, beautiful forms. I see music as one of the markers for a healthy society, as well as being fascinated with its diversity. I wish to add to that. For me, to create music is part of being human.

Random Audio Sample: Bugs : for violoncello duet by May Lyon, from the CD Selected Works by AMC Represented Artists, vol. 117.

Photo of May Lyon

Photo: Josh Smyth

Artist website: http://maylyon.com

May Lyon is a composer and music educator based in Melbourne. Lyon's music explores a range of themes, from deep human emotions, representations of nature, to mathematical concepts, as well as the lighter side of life. Stylistically eclectic, Lyon's compositions move from dramatic and intense, to quirky. Narrative, precision, duality and rhythm are all strong recurring elements.

In Musica Viva's 2023 season, Lyon's newly commissioned work for violin and piano, Forces of Nature, will be toured nationally by Noa Wildschut and Elisabeth Brauß. This work was commissioned by Christine Bollen and friends. Lyon is the recipient of the 2023 Noisy Women Commission, awarded by Ensemble Offspring, and will compose a work for soprano and sextet to be premiered in 2024. Upcomoing performances are Duet for Cello and Piano, performed by Syzygy Ensemble, and Opal: Double Concerto for horns and orchestra with Zelman Memorial Symphony Orchestra as part of their 90 year celebration.

The Australian Ballet commissioned Lyon as part of the 2022 Bodytorque series, collaborating with choreographer Timothy Coleman. In March 2021 the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra performed a newly commissioned work Opal, at Hamer Hall, written for Nicolas Fleury and Rachel Shaw, conducted by Ben Northey.

2023 will see Lyon's first opera, Pieces of Margery, workshopped by Melbourne based opera company More Than Opera under the baton of Alan Cook. In 2019 Cook premiered Orchestral Equations (2014) with the The National Capital Orchestra. In July 2022 Lyon took part in Halcyon's First Stones program as a returning participant, workshopping several vocal excerpts to be developed into the opera.

In 2019 Lyon was a finalist for the Beluera Emerging Composer Award as part of the prestigious Melbourne Prize for Music. In 2017 Lyon was a participant in the Cybec 21st Century Australian Composers Program, writing Ignition under the mentorship of Brenton Broadstock OA. Following this, Lyon was commissioned by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra to compose the main piece for the 2019 Snare Drum Award, Phosphorus. In 2016-17 Lyon received several commissions, including composing for Syzygy Ensemble as part of the Melbourne Recital Centre's "Local Heroes" program, as well as participating in The Glen Johnston Composition Award. Lyon received several awards during her undergraduate studies, including the Adolf Spivakovsky Scholarship for Composition of Music for verse re-rhymes.

Past performances and collaborations have included the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Tasmanian University Orchestra, Sydney Symphony Orchestra Fellows, Sydney Dance Company, Sydney Philharmonia Choirs, Forest Collective, Ensemble Goldentree, Zelman Memorial Symphony Orchestra, Syzygy Ensemble, E21, Melbourne Women's Choir, flautist Robin Meiksins (Chicago) multi-arts organisation Forest Collective and Icon Trio.

Lyon is currently studying a Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of Sydney as part of the 2020-21 Composing Women Program with Professor Liza Lim. In 2019 Lyon completed a Master of Music (Composition) as a recipient of the Fay Marles Scholarship at the University of Melbourne with Dr Katy Abbott and Dr Elliott Gyger.

May Lyon — current to April 2023

Teacher/Influence on

Robert McIntyre (2017 - 2020)

Awards & Prizes

Year Award Placing Awarded for
2023 Art Music Awards: Work of the Year: Dramatic Finalist Precious Bedeviller (One Person Watching)
2019 Melbourne Prize for Music Finalist - Beleura Emerging Composers Award 2019
2009 Adolph Spivakovsky Scholarship for the Composition of Music Winner Verse re-rhymes

Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
Pieces of Margery : an opera in one act (2024) More than Opera; Creative Victoria - Sustaining Creative Works fund (2020)
Forces of Nature : for violin and piano (2023) Commissioned by Christine Bollen, Peter Cumines, Elizabeth Dooley, Annabel Wheeler and Elizabeth and Rod King. In memory of Ian Bollen and in memory of Iris Mara.
Digital sheet music sample Precious Bedeviller (One Person Watching) (dance music) (2021) Australian Ballet for 2022 Bodytorque series
Opal : Double Concerto for Horns and Orchestra (2021) Commissioned by Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.
Digital sheet music sample The Path : full orchestra (2021) Composing Women Program - Sydney Conservatorium of Music Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra
Processional (duos: violin, cello with pre-recorded sound) (2020) Commissioned by Composing women - Sydney Conservatorium of Music for performance by Sydney Dance Company, Sydney Symphony Fellows.