Shirley Ly


Shirley Ly is a self-taught British female contemporary classical music composer from Greenwich in London, United Kingdom, with Chinese and Vietnamese heritage. She has composed over 40 pieces for solo piano / violin / cello, duets, trios, quartets and quintets. She has released 4 albums: 9 Lives (2023), Paradise (2023), Blossom (2021), Impetus (2018), and multiple singles i.e. Emerald (2023), London Strive (2023) and Amsterdam (2023). For all music links, please visit her website:

Her music has been played around a million times across more than 100 countries around the world spanning six continents, including by BBC radio and other radio stations, and is described to be a bridge between classical, romantic, and minimalist music with Eastern and jazz elements. She has been named as one of Scala Radio's One To Watch artists, where her composition, Emerald about freedom inspired by her travels in Vietnam, has been described as 'terrific' and ' simply stunning'. She has performed her music across a variety of venues, including churches and halls, and will be performing in many more venues going forward in London and abroad independently and as part of Sofar Sounds. Classical Music magazine has recently published an article about Shirley organising the UK's first cats charity music concert featuring all of her own compositions from her new album, 9 Lives. She has been praised for her ability to connect with people from various walks of life, her concerts have full attendance and has grown a large following of over 20,000 followers across all of her social media platforms (she is continuing to rapidly grow this). Shirley plays the piano in all of her pieces.

The pieces in her albums aim to capture her reflections on life experiences relating to nature (i.e., swallows' journeys to their nests, the seasons, swans), living in London, dance, relationships with family and other loved ones, travel (i.e. to Vietnam, Berlin, Amsterdam), events going on in the world and dreams. Paradise (2023) is inspired by her experiences of swimming, diving, sailing, and surfing in the ocean, and she hopes that her music can further emphasise its importance. 9 Lives (2023) is inspired by the beauty, charm and mysteriousness of cats. She lives in London with her five cats, and gain a lot of inspiration from them. 

​Shirley is currently working on classical and electronic music works inspired by her grandfather, Tian Chen, and travels in Southeast Asia. Tian Chen (1927 - 2014) was a distinguished fine artist, poet and photographer from Guangzhou in China, and growing up, Shirley was greatly influenced by his love of the beauty of nature and the world, and his aspirations to capture and show this beauty in the form of art. 

​For Shirley, composing music helps with the discovery of self as it allows reflections to be expressed freely. She considers music to be very powerful as it can be shared, not only in a physical way where people can listen to it but in the sense that it evokes emotions, triggers memories, and makes the mind wander into an abyss of imagination. ​She sincerely hopes that her work shares in this sense with you. 

Shirley has been featured on many publications, including by Classical Music Magazine, You Rice Me Up, Industry Times, Exulansis, Growth Illustrated, Disrupt Weekly and more. She self-funds all of her projects. 


Shirley Ly (Contemporary Classical Composer)

London, United Kingdom
United Kingdom