Image by Karin Locke

Image by Karin Locke

Evan J Lawson

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

Hailed by Alexandra Mathew in Limelight Magazine that "his conducting was superb, rhythmic, precise, and expressive...his whole stance was like that of a dancer," Evan graduated from the Victorian College of the Arts in 2010 with a Bachelor of Music Performance (Hons. composition) under the tutelage of Johanna Selleck. In 2015, he completed a Masters of Music Research (conducting) at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music under Benjamin Northey with the assistance of an Australian Postgraduate Award.

He has studied privately with David Aronson (Wiener Staatsoper), Alim Shakh (Moravska Filharmonie) and Matthias Pintscher (Grafenegg Festival). Evan has held the position of Artistic Director of Forest Collective since its inception in 2009 and was the composer-in-residence at Billilla Mansion in 2015.

Evan completed the developing artist programs with the Malthouse Theatre under the mentorship of David Chisholm in 2014 and with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra under the mentorship of Julian Yu in 2011.

As a composer, Alexander O’Sullivan of Partial Durations has said "Lawson's music is, bar to bar beautiful." Performances of his music include Ensemble Lux (Cite Internationale Universitaire de Paris, France), Tonkunstler Orchestra (Grafenegg Festival, Austria), Cochlea Duo (SoundSCAPE New Music Festival, Italy), Edges Duo (University of Oregon, USA), Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Metropolitan Sinfonietta, Forest Collective (Melbourne Recital Centre, Metropolis New Music Festival), Victorian Youth Symphony Orchestra (highlighted in two seasons), Hopkins Sinfonia, Australian Children's Choir, Allotropy String Quartet, Syzygy Ensemble, VCA Symphony Orchestra and the Chamber Strings of Melbourne.

Evan was the inaugural musical director for the RMIT Symphony Orchestra, musical director for the Australian premiere of Holcombe Waller's Requiem Mass: LGBTI Working Title (for Day4Night Performance Space and Carriageworks), Come Away with Me to the End of the Eorld (by Adriano and Raymondo Cortese for Ranters TheatreMalthouse Theatre and Dublin Theatre Festival), and for various opera productions, including Benjamin Britten's Curlew River (Gertrude Opera), the world premiere of his opera Calypso (Forest Collective), Carmen (In Good Company), Die Zauberflöte (Gertrude Opera) and the world premiere production of Nina Sofo's Laugh Out Loud (VCA). Evan made his European conducting debut in 2015 with the Tonkünstler Orchestra, as a part of Grafenegg Festival, Austria, appeared as guest conductor with the Moravska Filharmonie (Czech Republic), Australian National Academy of Music Orchestra, Hopkins Sinfonia, Melbourne University Symphony Orchestra and at the New Music Studio Melbourne Conservatorium of Music. As an assistant conductor Evan has worked with some of Australia's top musicians, including Brett Dean, Fabian Russell, Marshall Maguire and Warwick Stengards.

Under Evan’s artistic direction, Forest Collective has championed Australian composers such as Lisa Illean, Johanna Selleck, May Lyon, Alexander Morris and Andrew Aronowicz, and has performed premieres of leading international composers such Marc-Anthony Turnage, Gerard Grisey, Caroline Louise Miller, Philip Venables, Lars Ekstrom, Luciano Berio and Kaija Saariaho.

Evan regularly collaborates with other diverse artists such as writer and poet Samuel Yeo, author Jie Eccles, poet Nicole Butcher, soprano Rosemary Ball, mezzo sopranos Lotte Betts-Dean, Kate Bright and Stefanie Dingnis, tenor Daniel Todd, cabaret sensation Danielle Asciak, conductors Gloria Gamboz, Sascha Kelly and Patrick Burns, Play On director Lydia Dobbin, percussionist Crystal Chu, violist Alexina Hawkins, flutists Naomi Johnson, Tamara Kohler and Tanya Vincent, clarinettists Vilan Mai, Edward Ferris and Ashley Smith, pianists Jacob Abela and Danae Killian and Harpists Jacinta Dennett, Jessica Fotinos and Catherine Ashley.

Evan’s music plays with the flow and transfer of energy and is known for contrasting movement between static and hyperactive textures. His works are written primarily for voice, solo line instruments or works for large forces and regularly experiment with unorthodox staging requirements and spatial positioning.  Evan's music is strongly influenced by ancient music , regularly composing in a "concerto-grosso” style. Most works are written for specific performers and are informed strongly by cross-disciplinary projects and ancient Greek and European music, culture and ritual.

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 and Melbourne International Jazz Festival.

© Evan Lawson 2017