Born in Brisbane, Australia, Cathy Milliken completed her music degree majoring in performance (piano and oboe) and continued her studies in Europe under Heinz Holliger and Maurice Bourgue as well as completing her studies in the Dalcroze Method of teaching music.
As a founding member of the renowned group for contemporary music, Ensemble Modern Germany, she has worked with leading composers and conductors of this century including Pierre Boulez, Peter Eötvös, Frank Zappa, György Ligeti and Karlheinz Stockhausen (who produced her performance of “Spiral” on CD - Stockhausen Verlag Nr. 45).
She was also a member along with colleagues Dietmar Wiesner and Hermann Kreztschmar of the group HCD Productions. Together they created group installations, performances and recording projects.
She has composed for theatre, opera, radio, film and created installations. She has been commissioned by the Berliner Staatsoper, Staatstheater Darmstadt, South Bank Centre London, the ZKM (Centre for New Media) Karlsruhe, The Experimental Electronic Studio of Freiburg, as well as the CCMIX(enakis) Centre in Paris, the German Public Radio Stations of Saarland, Hessen and the Deutschlandfunk and the Concerto Köln. Her orchestral work "Earth Plays" premiered by the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks in December, part of the Music Viva Series for 2015.
A later performance at the Tectonics Festival in Adelaide conducted by Ilan Volkov and featuring the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and Jessica Azsodi won the Australian ArtMusic Award in 2016. She was also a finalist in the 2017 Mario Merz International Music Prize for composers. Other Awards include “Prix Marulic” and “Prix Italia”.
She was director of the Education Program of the Berliner Philharmoniker from 2005-2012 and is internationally recognised as a leading creative director and composer. She performs regularly with voice and oboe and is a member of Ensemble Extrakte, a Berlin based group noted for its diverse musical cultural practice.
Recent participatory compositional projects have led her to South Africa, Japan and Oman. Positions held now include being part of creative team for the Munich Biennale for Music Theatre as well as honorary member of advisory boards for the German Music Council and the Goethe Institute.
She was recently honoured by being appointed Associate Composer for the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra from 2018-2020 involving the creation of a new orchestral work each year.
She lives in Berlin as a freelance performer, composer, creative director and educational program consultant.
You can watch the American premiere of Cathy's new work for brass quintet commissioned by Stockholm Chamber Brass, Espiral, below.