Called a “brilliant musical scientist” and lauded for “creating a stir with listeners for her breathless imagination and ability to capture Gen-X and beyond generation”, Montreal based composer Nicole Lizée creates new music from an eclectic mix of influences including the earliest MTV videos, turntablism, rave culture, Hitchcock, Kubrick, 1960s psychedelia and 1960s modernism. She is fascinated by the glitches made by outmoded and well-worn technology and captures these glitches, notates them and integrates them into live performance.
Nicole’s compositions range from works for orchestra and solo turntablist featuring DJ techniques fully notated and integrated into a concert music setting, to other unorthodox instrument combinations that include the Atari 2600 video game console, omnichords, stylophones, Simon™, and karaoke tapes. In the broad scope of her evolving oeuvre she explores such themes as malfunction, reviving the obsolete, and the harnessing of imperfection and glitch to create a new kind of precision.
In 2001 Nicole received a Master of Music degree from McGill University. After a decade and a half of composition, her commission list of over 40 works is varied and distinguished (the Kronos Quartet, BBC Proms, l’Orchestre Métropolitain du Grand Montréal, CBC, Radio-Canada, the San Francisco Symphony, NYC’s Kaufman Center, Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society, So Percussion, Eve Egoyan, Gryphon Trio, MATA Festival, TorQ Percussion, Fondation Arte Musica/Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal, ECM+, Continuum, Soundstreams, SMCQ, Arraymusic, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony). Her music has been performed worldwide in renowned venues including Carnegie Hall (NYC), Royal Albert Hall (London), Muziekgebouw (Amsterdam) and Cité de la Musique (Paris) – and in festivals including the BBC Proms (UK), Huddersfield (UK), Bang On a Can (USA), All Tomorrow’s Parties (UK), X Avant (Canada), Luminato (Canada), C3 (Berlin), Ecstatic (NYC), Switchboard (San Francisco), Casalmaggiore (Italy), and Dark Music Days (Iceland).
Nicole was awarded the prestigious 2013 Canada Council for the Arts Jules Léger Prize for New Chamber Music. She is a Civitella Ranieri Foundation Fellow (New York City/Italy). In 2015 she was selected by acclaimed composer and conductor Howard Shore to be his protégée as part of the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards Mentorship Program.
This Will Not Be Televised, her seminal piece for chamber ensemble and turntables, placed in the 2008 UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers’ Top 10 Works. Her work for piano and notated glitch, Hitchcock Études, was chosen by the International Society for Contemporary Music and featured at the 2014 World Music Days in Wroclaw, Poland. Additional awards and nominations include a Prix Opus (2013), two Prix collégien de musique contemporaine, (2012, 2013) and the 2002 Canada Council for the Arts Robert Fleming Prize for achievements in composition.
Four Canadian musical visionaries have created episodes with the NAC Orchestra that use the power of music and video to share their stories.