Summer 2019 Camus Calla Festival, Finland, Loré Lixenberg performs Watching Medusa for voice and egg shakers - words by Jo Shapcott, music by Liz Johnson

Staying Alive Podcast  Staying Alive hosted by Michael de Groot - find out how I became a composer! The story starts from the very beginning (as a butterfly egg) through my caterpillar stage (some ups and downs) and now emerging from the chrysalis and ready to fly! Listen here 

Summer Residency 1 Thanks to both 'Made at the Red House' Britten-Pears Foundation and Help Musicians UK 'Fusion Fund' support/grants to develop new material for Scintilla and make a documentary film about my exciting new project Scintilla with film-maker Oli Clark, focussing on my creative journey with poet David Hart and choreographer Dane Hurst


Summer Residency 2 Thanks to a Arts Council England 'Develop Your Creative Practice' grant the Scintilla artistic team will be spending a week at Hellens Manor working with mental health professionals and VR film makers to develop the next stage of Scintilla - tackling isolation through arts.

November 12th 2019 7.30pm Royal Birmingham Conservatoire Ex Cathedra Academy WORLD PREMIERE Liz Johnson's new work for choir and baroque orchestra

2019 events so far... 

July 3rd 2019 7.30pm Royal College of Music RCM Sax Ensemble perform Almost... by Liz Johnson

6th June 2019 8.30pm Hereford Cathedral and 18th/19th June 2019 Birmingham Cathedral Ex Cathedra Summer Music By Candlelight including Liz Johnson's For Hester for choir and soprano solo

2nd June The Old Print Works Harp Recital by Eleanor Turner and students featuring Liz Johnson's Diptera for diatonic harp 

1st June BBC Radio 3 Breakfast - Tide purl for string quartet by Liz Johnson starting at 1:31:14 introduced by Elizabeth Alker played by the

Fitzwilliam Quartet


16th May BBC Radio 3 Breakfast - live broadcast of Agnus Dei by Liz Johnson sung by the banks of the River Severn by Severn Voices, conducted by William Coleman and introduced by Petroc Trelawny.  


5th May Royal Birmingham Conservatoire The Lab 6pm ScintillaLab

A first glimpse into Scintilla Liz Johnson's collaboration with choreographer/dancer Dane Hurst, clarinettist Jack McNeill and digital artist FormUls as part of Sound and Music's New Voices Artist Development scheme. Work-in-progress supported by Sound and Music, RVW Trust and PRSF. Also featuring MNDMTH by Stuart Brown.

Liz Johnson is supported by PRS Foundation's Women Make Music


27th April Moore Musical Arts Center Bryan Recital Hall, Bowling Green, Ohio USA 6pm (EST) 

Two Jo Shapcott Settings Cabbage Dreams and Rhinoceros (world premiere) with soprano Caroline Kouma piano Rhys Burgess

Support Liz's work by becoming one of her much cherished Arts Generators. Contributors will support Liz's current composing projects and the artists she works with. Visit the Support Liz's Work page to find out more!

24th March Huntingdon Hall 3pm Fitzwilliam String Quartet perform Liz Johnson's Tide purl 'exquisitely and rather elegiacally crafted' David DeBoor Canfield   

9th March Church on the Corner 6.30pm Heather Tuach performs Liz Johnson's Cello Suite Reflections of an Eccentric English Artist in 60 minutes Concerts 3 cellos 'The Cello Suite is stunning…Johnson's masterpiece (so far)'. Musicweb-International  

4th Feb RCM Recital Hall 4th Feb 7.30pm British Saxophone Music: Jonathan Dove, Mark Bowden, Philip Cashian, Graham Fitkin and Liz Johnson's Turn of the Moon for saxophone quartet 

2018 Events 

Ex Cathedra Christmas by Candlelight 2018 new carol Gentle Flame for double choir by Liz Johnson  

Saturday, December 1st 7:30pmSt Peter's Collegiate Church, WolverhamptonW

Wednesday, December 5th 7:30pm Hereford Cathedral, Hereford

Thursday, December 6th 7:30pm St James the Greater, Leicester

Friday, December 7th 7:30pm St Chad's Church, Shrewsbury

Tuesday, December 11th 7:30pm St John's Church, Hagley 

Thursday, December 13th 7:30pm St John's Smith Square, London

Tuesday, December 18th 2018 7:30pm St Paul's Church, Birmingham

Wednesday, December 19th 2018 7:30pm St Paul's Church, Birmingham

Thursday, December 20th 2018 7:30pm St Paul's Church, Birmingham

Friday, December 21st 2018 7:30pm St Paul's Church, Birmingham

Saturday, December 22nd 2018 7:30pm St Paul's Church, Birmingham 



Birmingham Cathedral December 10th 6pm Santa Lucia Service including Liz Johnson's carol For this babe 


Scintilla November 15th 4pm 

The Lab, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire tickets £8(£6)

Work-in-progress Liz Johnson's Scintilla for clarinettist and live electronics performed by Jack McNeill (clarinets) and digital artist James Dooley (live electronics) 

New Voices 2018

I am honoured to have been selected for the New Voices 2018 artist development programme: 

Sound and Music is delighted to announce the 15 composers and creative artists who will be its 2018 New Voices, and the first group to go through this brand new artist development programme.

New Voices 2018 are: Alex Ho, Andy Ingamells, Bex Burch, Daniel McBride, David Austin Grey, Edmund Hunt, Eska Mtungwazi, Eunseog Lee, Gugak Sounds, Johnny Hunter, Liz Johnson, Marcus Joseph, Stuart Brown, Supriya Nagarajan and Vicki Bennett.

Congratulations to our New Voices 2018! These fifteen are creating work across a very broad range of musical genres but they share a deep commitment to critical engagement with their practice. All fifteen New Voices want to make changes to, and effect development within, their work. They are learners who cultivate their craft and we hope to be worthy of the trust they have placed in us to work alongside them.


New Voices is Sound and Music's major Composer Development programme, lasting 18 months with an annual intake.

Moon Landings...

If you are looking for music to celebrate the lunar landings in 2019 Moon Incantations for mixed choir by Liz Johnson sets 5 lists of moon features: the craters and seas of the moon plus a cheesy number (a list of cheeses) and more...


February 18th 2018

N/A Ensemble perform Liz Johnson's Jo Shapcott Settings in Toledo, USA. Here's their lovely interview with me about the songs.



Christmas 2017

Ex Cathedra Christmas Music by Candlelight 2017

For This Babe a new carol by Liz Johnson, words by Marian Paulson 

Performances at Shrewsbury, Wolverhampton, Hagley, Birmingham, Hereford and London - click here for more details.




Friday 29th September Liz Johnson's Credo premiere performed by Adam Römer (viola) at Elmslie House, Avenue Rd, Malvern. 7.30pm with new poetry from Worcs Poet Laureate Nina Lewis.

Tickets £10 as part of the Creative Synergy Exhibition with artist Dora Williams 

Saturday 7th October 7.30pm Two of Liz Johnson's choral works: For Hester and Hymn to Cheese performed by Serenata in Landscapes and Harvest at St Peter's Church, Cowleigh WR14 1QP Tickets £10



Friday September 22nd 7.30pm I will lift up mine eyes from Colwall Requiem for Aleppo performed by Elaine Fleming and Peter Johnson All Saints Church, Coddington Tickets £10 

NEW LIZ JOHNSON CD RELEASE - 'Intricate Web - chamber music and songs by Liz Johnson' on Métier - available online here

'Liz Johnson is a British composer with a very special gift and distinctive style... a major composer deserving wide recognition...breathtaking... a magical performance...' (Métier)

Summer Performances

CANADIAN PREMIERE Cellist Heather Tuach performed Liz Johnson's Cello Suite Reflections of an Eccentric English Artist:

August 2nd: 8pm, Rotary Arts Centre Corner Brook, Newfoundland 

August 3rd: 12:30pm, Tuckamore Music Festival, St John's, Newfoundland. The Suite has been described as "… breathtaking" (Divine Art) and "…stunning … The music explores a vast canvas of melody, harmonics and other string effects…To me, this suite is Johnson's masterpiece. It is not too much to say that it takes its place beside Bach, Britten and Ligeti"

REVIEW Sounds Like Now July 2017 'Paintings and poetry in Liz Johnson's Intricate Web' by Tim Rutherford-Johnson  

REVIEW  Tonality Systems Press An extended essay exploring Liz Johnson's String Quartets, with a focus on her Fourth Quartet, a setting of Kathleen Jamie's Sky-burial  for string quartet and voice.

'I was immediately hooked... [this] is a significant body of English music for string quartet. This essay will discuss Liz Johnson's four string quartets, in particular a most ambitious and striking work for soprano and quartet...expressing the richest musical message.'

ONE FRIDAY Award Liz Johnson's Colwall Requiem for Aleppo was awarded first prize in the 'One Friday' national competition 2017 

Recent performances/broadcasts: 

MusicFest Aberystwyth 2017 1.30pm Monday 24th July 

Inflorescence for saxophone and piano by Liz Johnson performed by Kyle Horch - saxophone and Anya Fadina - piano 

Voices for the Unheard 1st July - Hills Singers, St Peter's Church, Malvern Link, 7.30pm (in aid of Amnesty International) Music from Colwall Requiem for Aleppo

The Guards Division Music Festival Thursday 29th June 1.10pm at the Royal Military Chapel Birdcage WalkLondonSW1E 6HQ Liz Johnson's O Vos for saxophones

Conway Hall, London  Sunday 21st May 2017 Fitzwilliam String Quartet J.S. Bach, Liz Johnson and Dimitri Shostakovich 

CBSO Centre, Birmingham Intricate Web Fitzwilliam String Quartet with Ronald Woodley (clarinets) and Heather Tuach (cello) Intricate Web Album Launch

BBC Radio 3 Saturday Breakfast broadcast Liz Johnson's Tide purl (2013), performed by the Fitzwilliam String Quartet 

St James the Great, Colwall Colwall Requiem for Aleppo Sunday 2nd April 

A multi-dimensional new requiem by Liz Johnson commissioned by St James Colwall Choir for refugees from Syria and around the world.

Wonderful responses from audience and performers alike. This was a memorable event!

Go to page Colwall Requiem for Aleppo for more about the project... 

Click here and here for two BBC Radio Hereford and Worcester features on 'Colwall Requiem for Aleppo' by Liz Johnson


We're All In The Same Boat 

Sunday 11th December 2016 Our group Vantage Points: composer Liz Johnson, artist Fion Gunn and choreographer Sarah Rubidge performed 'We're all in the same boat'. We walked, danced and sang our way across Millennium Bridge, London, with boats of all shapes and sizes, including a 'boat-shoe' created and worn by Fion Gunn, in support of refugees forced to flee their homes, finishing outside the Tate Modern. Join us if you can or like/share the FB page 

Watch the short film of our walk here with Liz's song A (refugee) Sailor's Life





Ex Cathedra perform Ipsum Regem by Liz Johnson December 2016

Liz Johnson's new carol Ipsum Regem for SATTB will feature in this December's Christmas Music by Candlelight in Shrewsbury, Wolverhampton, Leicester, Hereford, Hagley, London and Birmingham. 


Triptych I premiere now available on Youtube   

Audience response...

'I found the evening utterly inspiring. The fusion of art and music was perfect. Lucy was able to take flight through the improvisatory quality of her playing to match the expressive lines that you had both created. It was deeply moving.......unforgettable.
Thank you both for your beautiful work.'

Penny Vere, audience member

October 5th 2016 Insights into Inspiration 

Elmslie House, 8, The Avenue, Malvern  7.30pm











Triptych I is a new work for unaccompanied baroque violin by Liz Johnson, performed by renowned Baroque specialist Lucy Russell.

Inspired by the artwork of Dora Williams, the music juxtaposes baroque dance and decorative ornamentation with contemporary lines and gestures.  

Click here to see a short film about the composing process made by Steve Parkinson. 


August 2016 Triptych I for Baroque violin - Liz Johnson

Lucy Russell and I have been collaborating on a new work inspired by artist Dora Williams' painting Triptych - a scarred series. The music incorporates elements of Baroque ornamentation and extemporisation set in a contemporary framework.

On Weds 5th October 2016, 7.30pm the piece will be premiered by Lucy at Elmslie House, Malvern, along with a discussion with Liz about the composing of the music.

There will be a retiring collection for Cancer Research UK 











July 2016 International Prize awarded for Sky-burial 

The IAWM Search for New Music 2016 Gideon Prize has been awarded to Liz Johnson for her fourth string quartet Sky-burial for voice and string quartet. Written in 2005 the piece is a single movement lasting 28 minutes, setting the evocative poem by Kathleen Jamie. A new recording of Sky-burial by the Fitzwilliam String Quartet with singer Loré Lixenberg will be released next April on the Métier label.

June 2016 











....a most wonderful week spent recording my new brand new piece 'Sea-change' for multiple clarinets and string quartet with the Fitzwilliam String Quartet and clarinettist Ron Woodley at St Martin's Church, East Woodhay.

The music features five clarinets from the tiny E flat to the mammoth mother of them all, the contrabass clarinet (a gentle giant). 


May 8th 2016

Amazing day recording songs with Loré Lixenberg and Ron Woodley setting poems by Jo Shapcott

Watching Medusa - my new setting of Jo Shapcott's intriguing poem for singer Loré Lixenberg and shaky egg. We are recording it in May ...WATCH THIS SPACE!...

Three Loves for three female voices performance at the Hartford Women Composers Festival 2016, USA, on March 11th 2016  

This poem by Heather Wastie was written in response to the premiere performance of Wild Man Dances for two pianos in November 2015:

Wild man dances

for Liz Johnson

Cell walls sweat,

drip mercury,

muscles twitch,

throb against blood


a flash mob of corpuscles

hammers on lungs,

polished black boots

stamp on the heart


tendons and ligaments

check like chains,

nerve endings clench

a furious flamenco


strictly self-contained,

rib cage rattling,

inside each measured man

a wild one dances


© Heather Wastie

October 2015

Wild Man Dances for two pianos Premiere Performance:

Tuesday October 27th 1.05pm Adrian Boult Hall 

Andrew West and Ronald Woodley 


Gigerlette now available on Youtube 

Lesley-Jane Rodgers - soprano

Dr K Sextet conducted by Ewan Campbell Live Premiere Recording at Club Inegales, January 22nd 2015 


Iridaceae Kings Place, 4pm Sunday 19th January 2014

  • Iridaceae by Liz Johnson for solo violin and live electronics performed by Marcus Barcham-Stevens in a concert that fuses Jazz, Classical, Folk, and electronic music.

    This event is built around three current Fitzwilliam Quartet recording projects, headed by the launch of a new disc of works by Steinmetz himself for string quartet, jazz violin, and soprano saxophone.

90 York Way, N1 9AG London, United Kingdom




3DOM Autumn Sharing - a celebration of music

24th November 3pm

Recital Hall, Birmingham Conservatoire 

Providing an inspiring creative musical place for people with isolating disabilities by bringing them together with musicians using innovative technology.

Summer 2013

3DOM Summer Sharing Weds17th July 6pm 

Providing an inspiring creative musical place for people with isolating disabilities by bringing them together with musicians using innovative technology.

A showcase of new music created using Soundbeam 5 and iPads with 3DOM participants.

Winter 2014 

Iridaceae for solo violin and live electronics at Kings Place, London

13th June 7.30pm Conservatoire Saxophone Ensemble, dir. Naomi Sullivan

Almost... - Liz Johnson

Orisha Osun - Liz Johnson 

27th June 7.30pm RCM Saxophone Ensemble, dir. Kyle Horch

Almost... - Liz Johnson 

Thursday 4th April  Tide purl for string quartet

commissioned by Music in the Village


St. Mary's Church, Walthamstow Village. 
Church End, London E17

7.30pm Johnson Tide purl 

Sunday 12th May Lighten Our Darkness (SATB)

Louth Chamber Choir, dir. Frederic Goodwin

at St James Church, Louth, Lincs. 

Thursday June 13th  Almost... (premiere) for saxophone ensemble

Orisha Oshun for soprano sax solo, sax ensemble and percussion 

Summer 2012 Performances

Flotilla saxophone quartet
Friday 25th May, 6.30pm. National Portrait Gallery, St Martin's Place, London WC2H OHE. 
Liz Johnson - O Vos for 3 alto saxophones 

Icarus dir. Chi Hoe Mak 6th June 7.30pm Recital Hall, Birmingham Conservatoire Liz Johnson - Almost... for a capella voices, setting words by poet David Hart 

Kyle Horch - saxophone Pavel Timofejevsky - piano Thursday 28th June, 1pm. St John's Church, Lansdowne Crescent, Notting Hill W11 2NN. 

Liz Johnson - Inflorescence
Kyle Horch - saxophone Pavel Timofejevsky - piano
Thursday 12 July World Saxophone Congress, St Andrew's University, Fife
Liz Johnson - Inflorescence for soprano saxophone and piano

Other news:
New version of Ben Hartley Reflections - suite for solo cello (20 mins) now available
and Collected Legs  - pieces for the amateur cellist from the Ben Hartley Reflections suite.

Spring 2012

Spring has sprung and the latest action includes:

finishing Enlli for clarinet quintet  (seal song and sea flow)

a clutch of exciting new projects with BCMG Learning see 

Autumn 2011

Current projects:

Enlli for clarinet quintet based around David Hart's poem Crag Inspector, to be performed in 2012 (tba)

Presteigne Festival - 'Singing History project with schools on the Welsh borders for performance in July 2012

BCMG Learning - Schools Concert Plus project 'A Box of Delights' with Birmingham Primary Schools, concert January 21st 2012 CBSO Centre

Thursday 14th July, 7.30pm  

Is This It? - A new opera by Liz Johnson and Rosalind Haslett
The Opera Group
Is This It?
When an extra angel appears in the foyer of the opera house the management are thrown into confusion, especially when it begins to become apparent that this is no ordinary angel. One man must take action to save the theatre, the audience, the earth - not to mention the heavens - from the angel in the foyer. Addressing the issues of individual action and personal responsibility, this new opera by Liz Johnson and Rosalind Haslett is a companion piece to Like Bedford's Seven Angels.
Linbury Studio Foyer
The Royal Opera House,
Covent Garden

Monday 20th June 2011, 1pm

Kyle Horch, saxophone and Pavel Timofejevsky, piano

Liz Johnson - Inflorescence (world premiere)

St Peter's Church

Kensington Park Road
Notting Hill
London W11 2PN

Sunday April 3rd 2011, 7.00pm

Bournville Young Singers, director Anne Ellis

Nightmare Night - Liz Johnson

Sun Dances (Premiere) - Liz Johnson

Birmingham Town Hall

Tuesday March 29th, 1pm


Liz Johnson - Hildegard Reflections 

St Martin-in-the-fields, Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 4JJ

5 December 2010 3pm Adrian Boult Hall, Birmingham Forty-Something Fantasia for string quartet - Liz Johnson performed by the Fitzwilliam String Quartet


27 November 2010 7.30pm St Peter and St Paul's Parish Church, Ermington, Devon Ben Hartley Reflections - Liz Johnson for cello solo and choir, performed by Elaine Ackers (cello) and the Erme Singers (directed by Peter Thurley), supported by Peninsular Arts, Plymouth University. 

June 23rd 2010 1pm Recital Hall, Birmingham Conservatoire Cabbage Dreams and Sleep Close - Liz Johnson, for voice and piano performed by Suzannah Purkis (voice) and Ronald Woodley (piano), Leaf-Fall-Dance - Liz Johnson, for piano solo performed by Marie-Louise Taylor
June 14th 2010 1pm St Peter's Church, Notting Hill O Vos - Liz Johnson, for 3 alto sax, performed by Flotilla

May 22nd 2010 Artrix, Bromsgrove Leaf-Fall-Dance - Liz Johnson, for solo piano performed by Marie-Louise Taylor (piano)

May 6th 2010 1.05pm Amaryllis Fleming Hall, RCM, London Orisha Osun -Liz Johnson, for soprano sax solo, sax sextet and percussion performed by the RCM saxophone ensemble directed by Kyle Horch

November 24th 2009 1.15pm Birmingham Conservatoire James Geer (tenor) and Ronald Woodley (piano) premiere Cabbage Dreams - Liz Johnson

Summer 2009 

Liz Johnson's Turn of the Moon for saxophone quartet featured in Rome, Italy

Donne In Musica Works for Saxophone Quartet

The 10 concerts planned with the SAXODIA QUARTET of the Antonia Scontrino Conservatory, Trapani, will take place in Rome between the 8th and 14th June. The works, chosen by international panel, will be performed in an "outreach" programme for the genral public of all ages and is the first of its kind in Italy - we are taking the contemporary works to schools, social centres, a library, a park and a centre for political refugees in the same quarter of Rome, Municipio XVIII, Roma Aurelia

 Spring 2009 Flotilla CD £10

Release of Flotilla CD for saxophone consort, featuring Liz Johnson's O Vos for 3 alto saxophones, from Hildegard Reflections.
Visit for more information and
order your CD from
Flotilla's programmes include works by major international and British composers including Elliott Carter, Jonathan Dove, Edward McGuire, and William Sweeney. Committed to developing a distinctive repertoire, the group has presented the first performances and recordings of several works, including Paul Evernden's Three Songs for Sajmište and Liz Johnson's Hildegard Reflections.

January 17th 2009 When Words Sing BCMG

CBSO Centre, Birmingham Conductor: Peter Wiegold

Liz Johnson's Elephant Woman for solo voice, performed by Eileen Hulse with animations by Jonathan Lee

January 17th 2009, Plymouth Chamber Music Trust, Sherwell Centre, and 26th Jan: Birmingham Conservatoire, Frontiers series featuring Liz Johnson's Hildegard Reflections: 3 pieces for saxophone ensemble

January 18th: Red Hot Celli Peppers, Adrian Boult Hall, Birmingham featuring Liz Johnson's Celli Source for 8 cellos 

Liz Johnson in conversation with Sir Peter Maxwell Davies about her String Quartet No 3 Intricate Web performed by the Brodsky Quartet, October 5th 2008 Kings Place, London





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