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, 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. Performances and commissions of his music have included Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Forest Collective (Melbourne Recital Centre, Metropolis New Music Festival, Midsumma Festival), Density 512 and Prismatx Ensemble (Butler School of Music, Texas USA) Ensemble Lux (Cite Internationale Universitaire de Paris, France), by harpist Jessica Fotinos at Jinji Lake Concert Hall (Suzhou, China), Tonkünstler Orchestra (Grafenegg Festival, Austria), Cochlea Duo (SoundSCAPE New Music Festival, Italy), Edges Duo (University of Oregon, USA), Victorian Youth Symphony Orchestra, Australian Children's Choir and Syzygy Ensemble, among others.

Evan made his European conducting debut in 2015 with the Tonkünstler Orchestra. He recently made his USA conducting debuts with Density 512 and Prismatx Ensemble. As guest conductor Evan has worked across Australia and Europe, including performances with the Moravska Filharmonie, Australian Youth Orchestra, Australian National Academy of Music Orchestra, Melbourne University Symphony Orchestra and Geelong Symphony Orchestra, and at Melbourne Festival, Metropolis New Music Festival, Grafenegg Festival and SoundSCAPE New Music Festival. 

As conductor Evan’s practice goes beyond the standard concert hall to encompass various collaborative projects. Projects include Nico, featuring the music of Christ Päffgen (Melbourne Fringe, Forest Collective and Cabaret sensation Danielle Asciak), the premieres of his dance-opera Orpheus (Forest Collective, Prismatx Ensemble, Density 512, Midsumma Festival, Abbotsford Convent and Ashley Dougan Choreographer), fluttering hearts // thinking machines (Forest Collective, Abbotsford Convent) by pop music doyen Addison, community music making with the RMIT Symphony Orchestra and U3A, Australian premiere of Holcombe Waller's Requiem Mass: LGBTI (Performance Space and Carriageworks) and for various theatre productions, including Come Away with Me to the End of the World (by Adriano and Raymondo Cortese for Ranters TheatreMalthouse Theatre and Dublin Theatre Festival), Benjamin Britten's Curlew River (Gertrude Opera), Carmen (In Good Company) and Die Zauberflöte (Gertrude Opera). 

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 musicians, including Sir Andrew Davis, Brett Dean, Fabian Russell, Christopher Hogwood, Jan Willem de Vriend, Tan Dun, Marshall McGuire, Tony Arnold 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 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: