Composing in the leafy outer east of Melbourne, Lyon's music explores a range of themes, from deep human emotions, representations of nature to mathematical concepts, as well as the lighter side of life. Stylistically eclectic, Lyon's compositions move from dramatic and intense, to quirky. Narrative, precision, duality and rhythm are all strong recurring elements. Lyon is currently studying a Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of Sydney as part of the 2020-21 Composing Women Program. Upcoming performances are with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra Fellows, and the Australian Ballet as part of the Bodytorque series, collaborating with choreographer Timothy Coleman. In 2023 Lyon's first opera, Pieces of Margery, is planned to be performed by More Than Opera under the baton of Alan Cook. Previously, Lyon's music has been performed by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Tasmania University Orchestra, National Capital Orchestra, Syzygy Ensemble, Ensemble Goldentree, flautist Robin Meiksins (Chicago), and multi-arts organisation Forest Collective. Lyon was a finalist for the Beleura Emerging Composer Award as part of 2019 The Melbourne Prize, participant in the 2017 Cybec 21st Century Australian Composers Program, and winner of the 2009 Adolf Spivakovsky Scholarship for Composition of Music.
- Detailed bio at bottom of page
Importance of Music
"I cannot imagine life without music, in all its various, beautiful forms. I see music as one of the markers for a healthy society, as well as being fascinated with its diversity. I wish to add to that. For me, to create music is part of being human."
Lyon will be one of four Australian composers collaborating with emerging choreographers at the Australian Ballet as part of the 2022 Bodytorque series. This showcase will premiere in August 2022 with five performances at Transit Dance.
"This annual program has become a breeding ground for some of The Australian Ballet’s brightest talents, including Alice Topp and Tim Harbour, both of whom have gone on to become resident choreographers for The Australian Ballet and created works for other dance organisations.
The Bodytorque program is enabled by the Geraldine Lawton Bequest."
- The Australian Ballet
In 2020-21 Lyon will be part of the Composing Women Program, a post-graduate course started by Matthew Hindson in 2016. Now led by Liza Lim, the accomplished cohort includes Jane Sheldon, Brenda Gifford, and Fiona Hill.
Composing Women Program receives Classical:NEXT 2019 Innovation Award
"This is the only higher-level composition program for women demonstrating a sustained, strategic commitment to change" Classical:NEXT http://www.classicalnext.com/programme/award/recipients
As part of the Melbourne Prize for Music 2019, Lyon was a finalist for the Beleura Emerging Composer Award. Fellow finalists included Andrea Keller (winner), Annie Hui-Hsin Hsieh, Sophie Koh, and Tilman Robinson.
February 2021 article written for Resonate magazine about Opal: Double Conerto for Horns. Written by May Lyon
Interview with Matthew Lorenzon
Featured works: On The Inside (2016) and verse-re-rhymes (2009)
Released 12th May 2017
September 2016 interview for Syzygy Ensemble's premier of Neheh, for Flute, Clarinet & Cello. Held at Macedon Music as part of the Glen Johnston Composition Award
August 2016 interview with Syzygy Ensemble for their premier performance of Ode To Damascus.
On the Inside "... a journey of developing harmonic and rhythmic nuance. Beneath this fine instrumental writing is a sophisticated critique of notions of beauty and gender roles."
- Matthew Lorenzon,
Partial Durations 30th March 2016
The Storyteller ... echoes of Part’s Fratres ... alongside Bachian snippets and folk like sonorities.
- Alexandra Mathew, Limelight Magazine August 2014
May Lyon is a composer and music educator based in Melbourne. Lyon's music explores a range of themes, from deep human emotions, representations of nature, to mathematical concepts, as well as the lighter side of life. Stylistically eclectic, Lyon's compositions move from dramatic and intense, to quirky. Narrative, precision, duality and rhythm are all strong recurring elements.
Upcoming performances are with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra Fellows, and the Australian Ballet as part of the Bodytorque series, collaborating with choreographer Timothy Coleman. 2023 will see the premiere of Lyon's first opera, Pieces of Margery, in conjunction with Melbourne based opera company More Than Opera under the baton of Alan Cook. In 2019 Cook premiered Orchestral Equations (2014) with the The National Capital Orchestra. IN July 2022 Lyon took part in Halcyon's First Stones program as a returning participant, workshopping several vocal excerpts to be developed into the opera. In March 2021 the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra performed a newly commissioned work Opal: Double concerto for horns and orchestra, written for Nicolas Fleury and Rachel Shaw, conducted by Ben Northey.
Lyon is currently studying a Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of Sydney as part of the 2020-21 Composing Women Program, under the supervision of Liza Lim and Matthew Hindson. Collaborations as part of this course have been with the Sydney Dance Company, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Symphony Orchestra Fellows, and Sydney Philharmonia Choirs. In 2019 Lyon completed a Master of Music (Composition) as a recipient of the Fay Marles Scholarship at the University of Melbourne under the guidance of Dr Katy Abbott and Dr Elliott Gyger. Lyon started formal music study in 2008, at the age of 28, majoring in Composition from 2009.
In 2019 Lyon was a finalist for the Beluera Emerging Composer Award as part of the prestigious Melbourne Prize for Music. In 2017 Lyon was a participant in the Cybec 21st Century Australian Composers Program, writing Ignition under the mentorship of Brenton Broadstock OA. Following this, Lyon was commissioned by the MSO to compose the main piece for the 2019 Snare Drum Award, Phosphorus. In 2016-17 Lyon received several commissions, including composing for Syzygy Ensemble as part of the Melbourne Recital Centre's "Local Heroes" program, Ensemble Goldentree, and The Glen Johnston Composition Award. Lyon received several scholarships during her undergraduate studies, including the Adolf Spivakovsky Scholarship for Composition of Music for verse re-rhymes, which was premiered by Ensemble 21 in August 2010. Lyon completed her BMus Honours in 2014 having studied with Dr Stuart Greenbaum, Dr Elliott Gyger.
Past performances and collaborations have included the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Goldentree, Zelman Symphony Orchestra, Rubiks Collective, Syzygy Ensemble, E21, Melbourne Women’s Choir, flautist Robin Meiksins (Chicago) multi-arts organisation Forest Collective and vocal group Icon Trio. In January 2018 Lyon was a participant in the Prime Composition workshop with composer Adrian Sutton, resulting in a short work, I love maths. I also like outerspace, that was performed during intervals at Melbourne performances of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Lyon’s music was featured on ABC Classic’s New Waves in 2017, several times on 3MBS, including Live at the Wireless, and continues to be included on various Making Waves podcasts, including an hour length interview for Making Conversations in 2017.