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Juliet Palmer


Born: 1967 Website  


New Zealand-Canadian composer Juliet Palmer is known as a “post-modernist with a conscience” (The Listener) whose work “crosses so many genres as to be in a category of its own” (Toronto Star). Juliet is the artistic director of Urbanvessel, a platform for interdisciplinary collaboration. Her 2010 boxing opera Voice-Box was acclaimed as a "performance piece that smashes the boundaries between disciplines and leaves them sprawled out on the mat, down for the count” (Musicworks).

Based in Toronto since 1997, Juliet's work has been featured around the world with performances at: New York’s Lincoln Center, London's Southbank Centre, the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Bath International Festival, Voix Nouvelles France, Italy’s Angelica Festival, Evenings of New Music Bratislava, Musica Ficta Festival Lithuania, NYYD Festival Estonia, The Istanbul Festival, Soundculture Japan, the Adelaide Festival, the New Zealand International Arts Festival, and Canada's World Stage Festival, Koerner Hall, National Arts Centre, Orpheum Theatre, Chan Centre, Crow's Theatre, Theatre Centre, Music Gallery, Sound Symposium, Open Space, Western Front and Ottawa Chamberfest.

Performers of her music include Canada's Aventa, Tapestry New Opera, Continuum, Soundstreams, Ensemble Contemporain de Montréal, Toca Loca, l'Orchestre Métropolitain conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Bicycle Opera, Penderecki String Quartet, New Music Concerts, Arraymusic, Eve Egoyan, Krisztina Szabó, Patricia O'Callaghan, Trio Fibonacci, the Gryphon Trio, and Motion Ensemble; Les Percussions de Strasbourg; Italy's Fontanamix; London's Piano Circus; Slovakia's Veni Ensemble; California EAR Unit and the Bang on a Can All-Stars; the New Zealand String Quartet, Auckland Philharmonia, Orchestra Wellington and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

Juliet was the 2011/12 Creative New Zealand/Jack C. Richards composer-in-residence at the New Zealand School of Music and the 2012 composer-in-residence of Orchestra Wellington. She was an Artist-in-Residence at Sunnybrook Research Institute in 2018, a position funded by the Ontario Arts Council. She is the winner of the Detroit Symphony's Elaine Lebenbom Award and the recipient of a Chalmers Arts Fellowship 2018-19 and two-time finalist for the Johanna Metcalf Performing Arts Prize (2019, 2021). She is Board President of the Canadian New Music Network / Reseau Canadien pour les Musiques Nouvelles.

Juliet holds a PhD in composition from Princeton University and an M.Mus in performance, composition and time-based art from Auckland University. Her teachers and mentors include: Louis Andriessen, Jack Body, Phil Dadson, Michael Gordon, Eleanor Hovda, David Lang, Paul Lansky, Annea Lockwood, Meredith Monk, Steve Mackey and Julia Wolfe.

Juliet makes her home in Toronto.

"Palmer’s music can be as sinuous as a torch song or as spiky as Stravinsky."
— William Dart, The Listener
"A fluent and versatile stylist"
— Owen Mortimer, Opera Now (UK)

Composed (75)

5 Cactus Dreams

for voice and chamber ensemble, 5m

A Bridge of Ice

for double bass and tape, 25m

A Guided Viewing

sound installation

American Woman

for soprano and ensemble, 7m


for piano, 20m

Blood Shower

music theatre for percussion duo, 10m


for chamber quintet, 8m


for chamber ensemble, 9m


for solo piano, 5m 30s


for orchestra, 12m

Circus Dog

for six pianos, 9m


for tape, voice, food blender, electronics, grapefruit and slides, 25m


for solo piano, 3m


a site-specific collaboration for two percussionists and seven dancers, 18m


for chamber orchestra, 10m


for double bass and bass clarinet, 35m

Deep Stew

for electric violin, bass clarinet, Hammond organ and drum kit, 10m

Deep Stew

for alto flute, violin, cello, double bass, bass clarinet, drum kit and Hammond organ, 10m


for violin, cello and piano, 3m


for SSA choir and piano, 4m

drift, drop

for two ensembles, 16m

Egg & Tongue

for string quartet, 10m

evening rode tenderly

for piccolo/alto flute and accordion, 10m

fire break

for chamber orchestra, 13m


for 2 pianos and percussion, 7m 36s

Flotsam and Jetsam

for mezzo soprano, piano, and dancer, 50m


for chamber septet, 11m

frozen tears

for mezzo-soprano and piano


for a cappella choir, 5m


for counter-tenor, chorus, violin, cello, percussion and organ, 14m

How it Happened

for narrator and ensemble, 15m


for violin and CD, 1h 30m

las uvas y el viento

for mezzo soprano and mixed chorus

Love is a Thing

for soprano, harp and harpsichord, 15m


for installation and broadcast, 8m

Miasma: veni mix

for mixed chamber quintet, 15m


for piano and percussion, 15m

Mother Hubbard

for chamber ensemble and CD, 15m

Mother Hubbard: f—mix

for chamber ensemble, 16m

Oil & Water

for symphony orchestra, 15m 30s

Over the Japanese Sea

for two baritones and chamber ensemble, 14m

Pale on the ground

for alto flute/flute, violin, viola, cello and double bass, 15m

Parted Tongues

for orchestra, 10m


for soprano, double bass, percussion and clarinet in B flat


for mezzo-soprano, clarinet and electric hurdy-gurdy, 9m


for B flat clarinet and two bass clarinets, 7m

Secret Arnold

for orchestra, 6m

Seduction by Salad

for soprano, tenor and piano, 5m


for three percussionists, 10m

Seven Sheets of White

for soprano, mezzo-soprano and piano, 5m


for flute/picc., clarinet/bass clarinet, percussion, piano, violin, viola and cello, 12m


a site-specific work for dance, theatre, music and installation

small excesses

for violin and piano, 11m


for string quartet, 15m

So Long

for soprano and chamber orchestra, 5m

Soaring Roaring Diving

a film directed by Miriam Harris and Juliet Palmer, 6m

Solid Gold

for soprano and chamber orchestra

Songs from 'Flotsam and Jetsam'

for voice and piano

Starving Poetry

for marimba and violin, 9m


an a cappella opera

Stitching in the Ditch

for symphony orchestra, 12m


for clarinet, voice, tape, turntable, live electronics and videos, 20m


an opera


for orchestra, 13m

Te Kahu

for violin, piano, and CD with recorded voices, 15m

The Heart has Narrow Banks

for clarinet, digital delay and projected video, 10m

The Moon

for SATB choir and piano, 2m

The Province of Impossible

for three performers, 40m

the truth and the truth

for solo vocalising percussionist, 2m

Three Poems from the Bulin File

for clarinet, tape, video and slides, 12m


for piano, 10m


for alto saxophone, bass clarinet and cello, 15m


for guitar quartet, 15m

Vermillion Songs

for violin, cello, piano and tenor

W is for

for clarinet, trumpet, drum set, keyboard, violin, double bass and 2 sopranos

Recordings (1)