updated 6 March 2023
© Richmond Lam

Nicole Lizée

Canadian composer, video artist and turntablist born 7 April 1973 in Gravelbourg (Saskatchewan).

Nicole Lizée studied musical composition at McGill University in Montreal with Denys Bouliane and John Rea. She earned her master’s degree in 2001.

Fascinated by outdated technologies, with a focus on the period between 1960 and 1980, Lizée explores malfunction, the renaissance of the obsolete, and the exploitation of imperfections and glitches in order to, in her own words, “go under the surface of things, and to create other universes.” As such, she includes unorthodox instruments in her compositions, including Atari 2600 video game consoles, Omnichords, Stylophones, the Simon™ handheld game, and karaoke tapes.

Deeply influenced by DJ culture, Lizée benefits from a rich musical palette, extending from metal and krautrock to contemporary music. With experience behind the decks herself, she has integrated DJ techniques into her compositions through a precise notation, as in This Will Not Be Televised for chamber ensemble and turntable, one of her flagship works and one of the ten selected for the 2008 UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers.

Lizée also maintains a strong link with cinema. She has used films by directors such as Alfred Hitchcock, David Lynch, Stanley Kubrick, and Quentin Tarantino as a foundation for a series of compositions that offered an illustration of her recontextualization work, similar to the idea of a remix or a mash-up. Examples of this work are Kubrick Études (Kubrick Studies, 2013) and Tarantino Études (Tarantino Studies, 2015). In 2015, Lizée was composer Howard Shore’s protégée as part of the 2015 Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards Mentorship Program, sponsored by the Keg Spirit Foundation.

She has received commissions from renowned bodies such as the Kronos Quartet, the New York Philharmonic, the San Francisco Symphony, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the Quatuor Bozzini, the Banff Centre, Sō Percussion, stargaze, the Australian Art Orchestra, Music on Main, Tapestry Opera, Standing Wave, and Soundstreams, among others.

Her music has been played in concert halls around the world, such as in Carnegie Hall, the Royal Albert Hall, the Muziekgebouw, and Cité de la Musique, and at festivals such as the BBC Proms, Huddersfield, Roskilde, Bang on a Can, Classical:NEXT, Barbican’s Sound Unbound, Metropolis (in Australia), Sydney Festival, X Avant, Other Minds, C3 (in Germany), Switchboard (in the United States), Melos-Ethos, Casalmaggiore, and Dark Music Days.

Lizée has won various prizes and awards, such as the 2002 Robert Fleming Prize from the Canada Council for the Arts. In 2013, she received the Jule-Léger Prize from the Canada Council for the Arts for new chamber music. In 2017, she received the Jan V. Matejcek Prize from SOCAN. From 2016 to 2018, she was composer-in-residence at Music on Main in Vancouver. In 2019, the Conseil des Arts et des Lettres du Québec and the Conseil Québécois awarded her the Prix Opus for composer of the year.

She is also a scholar at Lucas Artists in the United States and the Civitella Ranieri Foundation in Italy. In 2014, her piece Hitchcock Études for piano and glitch was chosen by the International Society for Contemporary Music and presented at World Music Day in Wrocław, Poland.

© Ircam-Centre Pompidou, 2023


Site de la compositrice ; site du Canadian Music Centre ; site de la Société de Musique Contemporaine du Québec ; Circuit n°23/2.

Liens internet

(liens vérifiés le 3 mars 2023).


  • LIZÉE, Nicole, « Bookburners », 1 vinyle Centredisques, 2014, CMCV 25015.
  • LIZÉE, Nicole, « This Will Not Be Televised », 1 Cd Centredisques, 2008, CMCCD 13508.


  • KIBLEY, Paul, « 5 Questions to Nicole Lizée », 2012, à lire en ligne sur le site I Care If You Listen (lien vérifié le 3 mars 2023).
  • MCKINLEY, Maxime, « Faisceaux imaginaires et cool medias: This Will Not Be Televised de Nicole Lizée », in Circuit, Volume 23, n°2, 2013, pp. 49-77.
  • SIMAS, Richard, « Nicole Lizée invites us to hear things her way. Surrealist Collagist », in Musicworks n°105, Winter 2009, pp. 24-30, également disponible en ligne (lien vérifié le 3 mars 2023).