Liz Dilnot Johnson


Liz Dilnot Johnson is a composer based in the beautiful Malvern Hills and her music is published by Composers Edition. She is currently Composer-in-Residence with Ex Cathedra. Liz now composes full-time and lectured at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire BCU from 1999-2019 teaching composition, Music and Health and Community Engagement and in 2018 co-ordinated a collaborative project with Royal Birmingham Ballet.

Liz grew up in Havant, Hampshire and studied cello with Anthony Lewis of the Medici String Quartet at Kingston Polytechnic before going into teaching in South London and Birmingham. After ten years of classroom teaching, she took a 'year out' to do a Masters in Composition at the Birmingham Conservatoire. There she was persuaded to give up the day job and to pursue composing, gaining her PhD in Composition in 2005. Johnson was taught by Philip Cashian and Robin Grant and she has been mentored by Judith Weir, Julian Philips, Colin Riley and Jonathan Harvey. 

Johnson was selected for the Sound and Music 2018 Artist Development Scheme focussing on Scintilla for clarinets, live electronics and dancer with choreographer/dancer Dane Hurst, digital artist FormUls and clarinettist Jack McNeill. This project has been supported by PRS Foundation's Women Make Music, ACE Develop Your Creative Practice, PRSF Composers Fund, and Help Musicians UK Fusion Fund leading to a series of three films available through the British Music Collection: The Search for Scintilla Scintilla 5th May 2019 Performance and Composer Liz Dilnot Johnson and Poet David Hart watch Scintilla Scintilla is a development of the Clarinet Quintet Sea-change commissioned by clarinettist Ronald Woodley to include five different-sized clarinets from contrabass to E flat. The players of the string quartet are similarly equipped with five different instruments including egg shakers and Swanee whistles.

Johnson's music ranges from exquisite miniatures to ambitious large-scale works. Her six string quartets, other selected chamber music and songs are recorded on her debut double album Intricate Web, performed by the Fitzwilliam String Quartet with singer LorĂ© Lixenberg and clarinettist/pianist Ronald Woodley. Recent large-scale works include I Stand At The Door for mezzo-soprano, choir and baroque orchestra first performed at Birmingham Town Hall in 2021 and When A Child Is A Witness - requiem for refugees (2022) involving over one hundred performers including community groups and a children's choir performed at Coventry Cathedral in 2022.

Since 2019 Liz has been collaborating with indie film maker Blue Efrath leading to a number of videos including the award-winning Can You Hear Me? with music from I Stand At The Door - a cantata for our times setting words by Greta Thunberg.



Malvern Hills
United Kingdom