Inaugural Sculthorpe Chair of Australian Music announced

22 October 2019
Sydney Conservatorium of Music has announced Professor Liza Lim as the inaugural Sculthorpe Chair of Australian Music.

Professor Liza Lim

The late Peter Sculthorpe AO OBE generously left a bequest to the University to promote and advance music in Australia through the establishment of the Chair.  

Arguably Australia’s preeminent composer, Sculthorpe wished for the Chair to “grow to become a greater support for the cause of Australian music “as that cause has been the impetus for my whole compositional life.”

He also wanted the Chair to be a “recognition of my love for Australia and the mysterious presence of its land especially in its remote areas.” Emeritus Professor Sculthorpe had lectured at the University since 1963. He died in 2014 aged 85.

Liza Lim is one of Australia’s most internationally renowned composers. She has enjoyed a stellar career working with the world’s most eminent festivals, orchestras and ensembles as well as having an outstanding track record of research leadership.

In 2018 she was awarded the Australia Council of the Arts highest honour in music, the Don Banks Award in recognition of her “unique output as a composer, work as an influential academic and teacher, and leadership particularly in the areas of gender and music, and in mentoring new generations of composers.”

In response to her appointment Professor Lim said: “I’m incredibly honoured to be appointed to the Sculthorpe Chair at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

“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.”

Head of School and Dean of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Professor Anna Reid, said that Professor Lim has driven advances with the Composing Women Program; her teaching; supervision of research students; and her compositions.

“In appointing Professor Lim, we will have visionary leadership that achieves the aims of the Chair exceedingly well.

“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.”

Professor Lim will begin the five-year position in mid-November undertaking academic teaching, research and advocacy roles. She will work with a new cohort of composers in the 2020-21 Composing Women Program in a partnership with the Sydney Dance Company, Sydney Philharmonia Choirs and the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra.

As part of her new appointment, Professor Lim has curated a series of videos (vodcasts) called ‘The Sculthorpe Sessions’ in collaboration with ABC Classic, for release during this November’s Australian Music Month. She has invited a number of musicians including the Goldner String Quartet, Satsuki Odamura and others to perform in a fun and deeply human activation of the Sculthorpe memorial room at the Seymour Centre. Other public events planned include a new festival at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in 2021.


Sally Quinn

Media & PR Adviser Creative Arts

Related articles