Award-winning Australian composer Liza Lim has been appointed as the Sydney Conservatorium of Music’s inaugural Sculthorpe Chair of Australian Music. The new position was made possible by a generous bequest from iconic Australian composer Peter Sculthorpe, who died in 2014.

Liza LimLiza Lim. Photo © Astrid Ackermann

“I’m incredibly honoured to be appointed to the Sculthorpe Chair at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music,” Lim said. “I’m inspired by Peter Sculthorpe’s generosity and vision and of course, his iconic legacy as an Australian composer who looked to Asia and Indigenous Australia for new points of orientation.”

“The position brings wonderful opportunities to advance and champion Australian music, linking our composers and performers at the Conservatorium to the wider community though projects that are collaborative, interdisciplinary and speak to our times,” she said.

Lim, who also heads up the Composing Women program at the Conservatorium, will begin the five-year position – which includes academic teaching, research and advocacy roles – in mid-November.

“In appointing Professor Lim, we will have visionary leadership that achieves the aims of the Chair exceedingly well,” said the Conservatorium’s Head of School and Dean, Professor Anna Reid. “Professor Lim’s compositional focus is on music and ecological thinking. Her compositional practice is deeply imbued with a sense of the socio-cultural lineages of people, objects and performance practices, hence her interest in musical form as an emergent expression of group processes.”

As part of the new position, Lim has curated a series of videos called The Sculthorpe Sessions in collaboration with ABC Classic, which will be released as part of Australian Music Month celebrations in November. She has invited a number of musicians including the Goldner String Quartet and Koto master Satsuki Odamura to perform in what is being billed as “a fun and deeply human activation of the Sculthorpe memorial room” at the Seymour Centre. The Conservatorium has also announced that a new festival is slated for 2021.