Evan J Lawson

Image by Meghan Scerri

Image by Meghan Scerri

Evan J Lawson (b.1989) is one of Australia’s leading queer artists, working at the forefront of contemporary culture as composer, curator, and conductor, chiefly as artistic director of Forest Collective.

Hailed by Bridget Davies in The Age that Lawson’s innovative musical imaginations...are striking… Evan is a graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts and the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music. He has studied with Benjamin Northey, Richard Gill, Johanna Selleck, David Aronson (at the Wiener Staatsoper), Alim Shakh and Matthias Pintscher (at Grafenegg Festival) who has said that his music is serene, deep, it's even breathing the heritage of Mahler.

Evan was composer-in-residence at Billilla Mansion in 2015 and has completed developing artist programs with the Malthouse Theatre, Grafenegg Festival and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

Alexander O’Sullivan of Partial Durations has said Lawson's music is, bar to bar beautiful. 

Evan has performed across Australia, Asia, Europe and the USA, working with a variety of organisations as composer and conductor, such as the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Tonkünstler Orchestra, Moravska Filharmonie, Forest Collective, ANAM Orchestra, Australian Youth Orchestra, Melbourne Youth Orchestra, Geelong Symphony Orchestra, Density 512, Prismatx Ensemble, Victorian Youth Symphony Orchestra, Australian Children's Choir and Syzygy Ensemble, at the Melbourne International Arts Festival, Metropolis New Music Festival, Grafenegg Festival, Austria, Dublin Theatre Festival, Ireland, Sydney’s Mardi Gras, Bendigo International Festival of Exploratory Music, Melbourne Recital Centre, CarriageWorks, Jinji Lake Concert hall, China, Midsumma Festival, the Universities of Melbourne, Paris, Texas & Oregon and SoundSCAPE New Music Festival, Italy.

As opera conductor Evan has performed Benjamin Britten's Curlew River (Gertrude Opera, Linda Thompson dir.), Carmen (In Good Company, Greg Eldridge, dir.), Coronation of Poppea (Gertrude Opera, Yarra Valley Opera Festival, Gale Edwards AM dir.), Macbeth (Gertrude Opera, Yarra Valley Opera Festival), The Magic Flute (Gertrude Opera, Linda Thompson dir.) and his own two operas Calypso (Forest Collective) and Orpheus (Forest Collective, Density 512 & Prismatx Ensemble). 

Evan’s practice goes beyond the standard concert hall to encompass various collaborative works including Nico with Cabaret sensation Danielle Asciak, the premiere of his dance-opera Orpheus with choreographer Ashley Dougan, fluttering hearts // thinking machines by pop music doyen Addison, Australian premiere of Holcombe Waller's Requiem Mass: LGBT (Mardi Gras, Performance Space and Carriageworks) and Come Away with Me to the End of the World(by Adriano and Raymondo Cortese for Ranters Theatre, Malthouse Theatre and Dublin Theatre Festival).

Conducting the Moravska Filharmonie, June 2017. Image by Daria Kalinovska

Conducting the Moravska Filharmonie, June 2017. Image by Daria Kalinovska

Evan has worked with some of the world's finest artists, including Sir Andrew Davis, Brett Dean, Fabian Russell, Christopher Hogwood, Jan Willem de Vriend, Nick Cave & Warren Ellis, Tan Dun, Marshall McGuire, Tony Arnold, Gale Edwards and Warwick Stengards.

Outside of his musical activities, Evan has had wide artistic administration experience working with leading companies including the Melbourne & Sydney Festival's, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Galway International Arts Festival, Victorian Opera, Melbourne Theatre Company, Melbourne International Comedy Festival and Melbourne International Jazz Festival.

Evan acknowledges the generous support of Creative Victoria, Bayside City Council, Yarra City Council and the Ian Potter Cultural Fund. Evan lives on the lands of the Wurundjeri People of the Kulin Nation and pays his respects to their elders past, present and emerging.


© Evan Lawson 2019

Evan regularly collaborates with other diverse artists such as: