Lichen: ELISION Ensemble

In this special performance, musicians from the ELISION Ensemble perform the world premiere of Matthew Sergeant’s ‘Lichen’, commissioned for RMIT’s Sonic Arts Collection.

Matthew Sergeant is Senior Lecturer in Composition at the University of Bath Spa. His work explores ideas surrounding identity, hybridity, space and place. He will travel to Melbourne to attend the performance.

The Lichen programme will also celebrate the music of Dmitri Kourliandski, Liza Lim and Richard Barrett, featuring the world premiere of Richard Barrett’s ‘Calyx’ and the Australian premiere of Russian composer Dmitri Kourliandski’s blisteringly incessant ‘prePositions’.

These scores propose new forms of musical thinking and reflect the energies of ELISION musicians. Of special importance to ELISION in this regard is the music of composers Liza Lim and Richard Barrett. Close to three decades of joint practice now inform their work together.

Formed in Melbourne in 1986, ELISION’s work has focused increasingly on pushing physical boundaries in search of certain kinds of visceral expressive experiences, the musical body in extremis being a benchmark of our repertoire.

In a world where physical presence is frequently replaced by digital avatars capable of generating enormously complex effects, ELISION continues to be fascinated by an artisanal and intimately gestural approach to the production of music. Value is placed on the brilliance and effort of a moment-to-moment working out of things.

ELISION has established an international reputation as Australia’s premier new music ensemble through its engagement with complex and virtuosically challenging aesthetics. ELISION’s 16-strong membership includes some of the world’s leading musicians who have defined contemporary instrumental technique with their recordings and publications.

ELISION has performed at venues such as the Hebbel Theater Berlin, the Berlin Philharmonie, Saitama Arts Theatre Tokyo, Pompidou Centre, Sydney Opera House, Queensland Art Gallery, and Vienna Konzerthaus; at festivals such as Wien Modern, Maerzmusik, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Festival Ars Musica of Brussels, Züricher TheaterSpektakel, the 50th Warsaw Autumn Festival, Ultima Oslo, TRANSIT Leuven, Spitalfields London, the Chekov International Theatre Festival of Moscow, Harvard and Stanford Universities in the USA, and Festival d’Automne à Paris.


Presented by RMIT Gallery

Tuesday 8 August: drinks at 6:15pm, performance at 7.00-8:15pm
Dedicated to
the memory of musicologist Richard Toop


The Lichen programme also celebrates compositions by Richard Barrett, Dmitri Kourliandski and Liza Lim.

Liza Lim Roda – the living circle (2017) 7’ for trumpet*
Dmitri Kourliandski prePositions (2008) 11’ for violin
Matthew Sergeant Lichen (2016) 6’ for electric lap-steel guitar with effects**
Richard Barrett calyx (2015-2016) 4′ for slide trumpet*
Richard Barrett Codex XIX (2017) 16’ for nine improvising musicians and electronics*

* World premiere performance
** Recorded for inclusion in the RMIT University Sonic Arts Collection


ELISION ensemble

Daryl Buckley | electric lap-steel guitar
Graeme Jennings and Elizabeth Welsh | violin
Marshall McGuire | harp
Peter Neville | percussion
Paula Rae | flutes
Peter Veale | oboe
Richard Haynes | clarinets
Tristram Williams | trumpet



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