Holly Harrison is a young Australian composer from Western Sydney. Holly’s music is driven by the nonsense literature of Lewis Carroll, embracing stylistic juxtapositions, the visceral energy of rock, and whimsical humour.
Holly’s Lobster Tales and Turtle Soup featured on Eighth Blackbird’s (USA) Australian tour as part of Musica Viva’s 2017 International Concert Season. The tour included performances by the four-time Grammy award-winning group at Perth International Arts Festival and Adelaide Festival. She is currently working on a sextet for Sydney new music champions, Ensemble Offspring, a bassoon and string quartet work for Matthew Kneale and Omega Ensemble, and the required work for the string quartet division in the 2018 Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition.
Holly was awarded first place at the 2014 Young Composers Meeting in Apeldoorn, The Netherlands, for her work Cabbages and Kings. She received the Australia and Pacific Prize for the 2014 Zvi Zeitlin Memorial International Composers Competition (USA), and in 2013 was the winner of the inaugural Pyeongchon Arts Hall International Chamber Music Composition Competition (South Korea) with Red Queen, White Queen, Alice and All. Holly was a resident composer at the 2014 Mizzou International Composers Festival (USA) with Alarm Will Sound, and was one of two winners of The Riot Ensemble’s (UK) 2014 Call for Scores.
Her works have been performed at festivals including Gaudeamus Muziekweek 2014/2016 (NL), November Music (NL), Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music (USA), Kontiki Racket, Australian Music Day, Limelight Australian Composition Seminar, Asian Composers’ League Festival (TWN), and Now Hear This Festival (CAN). Holly’s music has been performed in Australia, Asia, Europe, and the USA by ensembles and artists including Orkest de Ereprijs, Alarm Will Sound, Ensemble Offspring, Sydney Symphony Fellows, RKST21 (Ereprijs and Het Gelders Orkest), Riley Lee and Enigma Quartet, Michael Kieran Harvey and Timothy Phillips, Caroline Cartens, Sydney Youth Orchestras, The Riot Ensemble, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, The Sound Collectors, The Violet Collective, Minot Symphony Orchestra, Hwaum Chamber Orchestra, Georgia Tech Strings, and National Taiwan Normal University Orchestra.
Holly currently teaches composition at MLC School, Burwood, and was previously composer in residence at Prairiewood High School. She recently completed a Doctor of Creative Arts under the supervision of Bruce Crossman and John Encarnacao at Western Sydney University, where she is currently a sessional academic.
Holly also plays drum kit and percussion in the improvised rock duo Tabua-Harrison with Joey Tabua (electric guitar/guzheng). Their debut record is expected for release in late 2017.
‘Lobster Tales and Turtle Soup…swarms with detail, hot jazzy moments of furious fiddling, some astonishing virtuosic percussion, a cellist at the top of his game and calm, mellow tones from the flute as well as peeping piccolo, gave us a fascinating potpourri of sounds’ – Neville Cohn, The West Australian
‘Lobster Tales and Turtle Soup…a work of riotous energy, eclectic rhythmic complexity and inventive instrumentation drawing on instrumental extremes of range and tone with good humour and vitality’ – Peter McCallum, Sydney Morning Herald
‘Lobster Tales…exploded off the page with a quirky energy that had the audience in raptures’ – Rosalind Appleby