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Cathy Milliken

50 Fanfares Composer

Cathy Milliken's commission for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra's 50 Fanfares Project is generously supported by Gary Holmes & Anne Reeckmann.

Her commission, Catalogue of Sky, premiered in July 2022 at the Sydney Symphony's performance of Simone Young & Hilary Hahn.

Cathy Milliken moves between manifold musical worlds, taking great joy in facilitating creativity and participation.

The diversity and relevance of her output has won her international recognition as a leading composer, creative director, educational consultant and performer.

Born in Brisbane and based in Berlin, Milliken completed a degree in Australia majoring in performance (piano and oboe) and continued her studies in Europe under Heinz Holliger and Maurice Bourgue. A founding member of Ensemble Modern, she worked extensively with artists such as György Ligeti, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Pierre Boulez, Fred Frith, and Frank Zappa.

Milliken has composed for concert, opera, radio and film. Commissioners include Southbank Centre London, Staatsoper Berlin and Musica Viva of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. International participatory compositions include Umculo Festival (South Africa), Future Labo (Japan), Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, and Munich Biennale. A versatile performer and member of Ensemble Extrakte Berlin, Milliken is known for her sonic improvisations using oboe and voice.

I am thrilled to be part of this exciting commission. So many Australian composers are involved, it is wonderful to know that so many of us will be directing our thoughts and passion to this project simultaneously – as a huge think tank creating the largest living garden imaginable.’’

Recipient of several awards, including the Prix Italia and the APRA AMCOS/AMC Art Music Award, Milliken is also currently Associate Composer of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra for 2018-20. She recently received the two-year Australia Council Fellowship, and divides her time between Brisbane and Berlin.

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Photo © Uwe Walter