Nirmali Fenn

Humanities (Music)

Assistant Professor of Practice
Coordinator of Music


View Curriculum Vitae

Dr Nirmali Fenn is a Sri Lankan-born Australian composer. She received her initial music education in Australia from the universities of New South Wales and Melbourne, graduating with high distinction. With the support of a prestigious Clarendon Fund Scholarship, she later read music at Oxford University, UK. She has worked on the faculties of the University of Hong Kong, New York University and the University of New South Wales.

Dr Fenn’s music often involves a lot of theatre and she has collaborated with some of Asia’s most respected choreographers, such as Pun Siu Fai and Daniel Leung. Her collaboration with the Guangdong Modern Dance Company opened the 9th Guangdong Dance Festival in Guangzhou, China. She is currently doing a project on Resistance in Berlin with choregrapher Jiri Bartovanec.

Dr Fenn has served as composer-in-residence at a number of major European festivals, most notably the Lakes District Summer Music Festival in the UK and the Saxophone Habanera Festival in Poitiers, France. Of the first performance of her song cycle Over Exposed at Abbaye Royaumont in Paris, Le Monde praised it as “standing out in the genre of ‘songs’ of today” and La Croix described it as “deeply moving”. Her compositions have been performed by the Arditti String Quartet, Ensemble Cairn, Ensemble Linea, the Kuss Quartet, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Tin Alley String Quartet, Sounds Underground, the Endymion Ensemble, the Hong Kong New Music Ensemble, Ensemble Concorde, the SEM Ensemble, Ostravska banda, the Eastman Broadband Ensemble, Mivos Quartet, Ensemble Phorminx and Ensemble United Berlin.

Through her music, Dr Fenn often challenges performers to ‘see’ with their ears and construct spatial ‘views’ of their surroundings. She believes that sound is one tool to give audiences the chance to experience vibrations in the volume of the space in which they exist.

Music dance theatre
Spatial hearing
Sound perception

CD: The Clash of Icicles: The music of Nirmali Fenn, released with Kairos

Squaring with the Truth: Peter Maxwell Davies and Vesalii Icones, Perspectives of New Music


A Highwire Act for piano trio, Edition HH, London

A Reaction in Force for oboe solo, Edizioni Carrara, Bergamo, Italy

The Edge of Self for solo accordion, Edition HH, London

An Interior Monologue for solo viola, Edition HH, London

The Clash of Icicles Against the Stars for sheng, accordion and flute, Edition HH, London

Some Words for soprano and large ensemble, Edition HH, London

Unifying Divisions for 17 saxophones, Edition HH, London

The 5 Steps for flute, violin, saxophone and 5 dancers, Edition HH, London

Through a Glass Darkly for trumpet, clarinet and accordion, Edition HH, London

Winged Links for string quartet, Edition HH Ltd., London

Living in Sound
Writing for the Voice
Tonal Music Theory
Ensemble Practice
Creative Music Composition