Liz Johnson is a composer based in the beautiful Malvern Hills published by Composers Edition. She has taught composition at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire BCU since 1999.

New Voices: Liz Johnson has recently been selected for the Sound and Music artist development scheme focussing on Scintilla for clarinets, live electronics and dancer with choreographer/dancer Dane Hurst, digital artist FormUls and clarinettist Jack McNeill. Liz Johnson is supported by PRS Foundation's Women Make Music

Other 2019 commissions: Triptych 2 for solo theorbo for Matthew Wadsworth, a new work for Ronald Woodley for basset horn and harp and a new partner cantata to J.S. Bach's Nun Komm Der Heiden Heiland, commissioned by Jeffrey Skidmore. 

Intricate Web double album on Métier - Johnson's complete string quartets, plus chamber music and songs with the Fitzwilliam String Quartet, singer Loré Lixenberg and clarinettist Ronald Woodley. Including award-winning Sky-burial, setting words by Kathleen Jamie, new pieces setting Jo Shapcott's quirky poetry for female voice. Sea-change: a new clarinet quintet featuring five different clarinets for the soloist and five instruments each for the string quartet, including Swanee whistles.

"...stunning" MusicWebInternational

Liz Johnson (née Dilnot) grew up in Havant, Hampshire and studied cello with Anthony Lewis of the Medici String Quartet at Kingston Polytechnic before going into teaching in South London and Birmingham.

After ten years of classroom teaching, Liz took a 'year out' to do a Masters in Composition at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. There she was persuaded to give up the day job and to pursue composing full time.

Johnson was taught composition by Philip Cashian and Robin Grant and has been mentored by Judith Weir, Julian Philips and Jonathan Harvey. Prizes include the Birmingham Chamber Music Society Composition Prize 1998 (Brief is the Breath) and 2001 (Quartet No. 1 Images of Trees), International Alliance of Women Musicians Search for New Music Gideon Award for Quartet No.4 Sky-burial for voice and string quartet and the One Friday Award for Colwall Requiem for Aleppo.                                                                                                    

Liz Johnson's richly diverse music ranges from luscious choral and vocal works to delicately layered and complex chamber music, broadcast on BBC Radio 3, with performances by ensembles and performers including the Brodsky QuartetRoderick WilliamsEx CathedraThe Opera GroupIxionNoszferatu, the Fitzwilliam String Quartet,  Ensemble Bash, the Goldberg Ensemble, the Ionian SingersJuiceDr K Sextet and BCMG String Quartet No.3 Intricate Web was selected by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies for the opening of Kings Place, London.  Moon Incantations for children's choir reached the final of the British Composer Awards. Is This It? a mini opera was performed at Covent Garden by the Opera Group and other commissions include Credo for solo viola part of the Creative Synergy exhibition - a collaboration with artist Dora Williams exploring issues of displacement and seeking refuge and Colwall Requiem for Aleppo - a major new work for SATB Choir with piano, organ and solo viola "...inspirational" raising awareness of the plight of refugees all around the world.

Works with dance include Two Pages with choreographer Eva Perdiki, Under Your Breath with choreographer Sela Kiek and work-in-progress Scintilla with choreographer/dancer Dane Hurst.


Liz leading the Banded About Ensemble, Birmingham at the CBSO Centre

Back to home page