Video Premiere: Sarah Saviet Peforms Liza Lim’s The Su Song Star Map

Today’s video premiere features violinist Sarah Saviet performing composer Liza Lim’s 2017 solo violin work The Su Song Star Map. Filmed last summer, the video was made in collaboration with Ricordi Berlin, the German branch of Italian publishing house Casa Ricordi, and the video artists at Pearls and Beans.

As violinist for The Riot Ensemble, Sarah has collaborated with Liza frequently over the past couple of years. The Riot Ensemble’s 2019 album Speak, Be Silent features Sarah performing Liza’s eponymous violin concerto alongside works by Chaya Czernowin, Anna Thorvaldsdóttir, Mirela Ivičević, and Rebecca Saunders. In his review of the album for I CARE IF YOU LISTEN, Jarrett Goodchild writes, “The solo violin is predominantly featured with long swaths of color, emerging intermittently from the rest of the ensemble. Saviet’s performance is fantastic–Lim’s writing demands extreme agility and precision, and Saviet delivers.”

More recently, The Riot Ensemble gave the UK premiere of Liza Lim’s Extinction Events and Dawn Chorus at a February 2020 performance at Kings Place, London. Caroline Potter, reporting for I CARE IF YOU LISTEN, hailed the performance of this 40-minute work about the climate emergency as “stunning,” particularly noting the use of unconventional percussion instruments and a giant sheet of noisy cellophane.

Here’s what Sarah had to say about performing The Su Song Star Map:

When I play Liza’s music, I search for a raw and vocal sound world–rough catches in the back of the throat, fragile and complex multiphonics, and weavings of deep resonances. In her program note about this piece, Liza includes a photo of the star map for the celestial globe of Su Song, a Chinese scientist and medical engineer of the Song Dynasty. The finely inked lines, curves, and circles on the map, just like a musical score, represent that which cannot be contained on paper.

About Sarah Saviet

Sarah Saviet is a violinist based in Berlin and dedicated to the performance of contemporary music. She performs as a soloist and chamber musician and is a member of The Riot Ensemble (London) in addition to guesting regularly with ensembles such as Ensemble Modern, Musikfabrik, and ELISION. Sarah’s recent recording of Liza Lim’s violin concerto Speak, Be Silent, with the Riot Ensemble was selected as one of New Yorker Magazine’s ‘Best recordings of 2019.’

Current projects include duo concerts with pianist Joseph Houston and an upcoming solo disc on Coviello Contemporary. Sarah curates a concert series at km28 in Neukölln, Berlin, and performs regularly with orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic, Staatskapelle Berlin, Rundfunk Sinfonie Berlin, WDR Sinfonieorchester, and Konzerthaus Berlin.

Sarah has held visiting artist positions in the composition departments of the University of the Arts Berlin, Huddersfield University, at Goldsmith University London with the Riot Ensemble, and at Harvard University with ELISION Ensemble. She has given workshops on contemporary violin technique at the Manhattan School of Music University of the Arts Berlin, Manhattan School of Music, and Darmstadt Akademie für Tonkunst, and held artist residencies at Aldeburgh Music with composers Lawrence Dunn, Jack Sheen, and artist Rowland Hill.

About Liza Lim

Liza Lim is an Australian composer whose music focuses on collaborative and transcultural practices. Ideas of beauty, ecological connection and ritual transformation are ongoing concerns in her compositional work. Her four operas: The Oresteia (1993), Moon Spirit Feasting (2000), The Navigator (2007) and Tree of Codes (2016), and the major ensemble work Extinction Events and Dawn Chorus (2018) explore themes of desire, memory, and the uncanny. Her genre-crossing percussion ritual/opera Atlas of the Sky (2018), is a work involving community participants that celebrates the emotional power and energy dynamics of crowds.

Liza Lim has received commissions from some of the world’s pre-eminent orchestras and ensembles including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio Orchestra, Ensemble Musikfabrik, ELISION, Ensemble Intercontemporain, Ensemble Modern, Klangforum Wien, International Contemporary Ensemble and Arditti String Quartet. She was Resident Composer with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in 2005 & 2006. Her orchestral cycle Annunciation Triptych (2019-21) is jointly commissioned by the BBC SSO, Bavarian Radio Orchestra, Westdeutscher Rundfunk orchestra and Orchestre de la Philharmonie de Luxemburg. Other projects include Sex Magic (2020), for flautist Claire Chase, and quartets for Sigma Projects and JACK Quartet. Her music has been featured at the Spoleto Festival, Miller Theatre New York, Festival d’Automne à Paris, Venice Biennale and at all the major Australian festivals. Lim is Professor of Composition and inaugural Sculthorpe Chair of Australian Music at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Her music is published by Casa Ricordi Berlin and on CD labels Kairos, Hat Art, HCR and Winter & Winter.