Australian composer and lecturer at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Liza Lim, has received the 2021 Happy New Ears Award for Composition, presented by the Hans und Gertrud Zender Foundation in collaboration with the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts, the Musica Viva concert series, and radio station BR-KLASSIK. 

Liza Lim Liza Lim. Photo © Klaus Rudolf.

Awarded biennially since 2011, the Happy New Ears Initiative awards two annual prizes: one for composition, recognising “courageous colleagues who are not merely interested in immediate success”, and the Publishing Prize which “aims to show gratitude to people who contribute to the formation of ‘new ears’ with their work”. The award was established by the late German composer and conductor Hans Zender and his wife. Zender is probably most known for his radical 1993 reinterpretation of Franz Schubert’s Winterreise for tenor and orchestra. The prize is named for John Cage’s famous invitation for audiences to “listen without prejudice”.

Lim is the sixth composer to receive the Award for Composition, following German composers Enno Poppe (2011), Isabel Mundry (2013), and Klaus Ospald (2019), British composer Rebecca Saunders (2015), and...