Mira Calix was an award-winning artist and composer based in the United Kingdom. Music and sound, which she considered a sculptural material, were at the centre of her practice. Her work explored the manipulation of the material into visible, physical forms through multi-disciplinary installations, sculpture, video and performance works. Calix’s practice was fluid allowing research, site, and subject to influence a shifting choice of materials and mediums.
Calix has been commissioned by, and exhibited and performed works in many leading cultural institutions internationally including; The Royal Shakespeare Company, Carriageworks, MONA, Performa, the Barbican, Art Basel, Lincoln Center, the Coventry Biennial, Shakespeares Globe, Melbourne Recital Centre, Sonar, Latitude Festival, Edinburgh Festival, Manchester International festival and the London Olympics amongst others
After releasing her self-produced, predominantly electronic debut album One on One (Warp Records, 2000), she expanded her musical practice to include written scores for classical orchestration, working with the London Sinfonietta, Ligeti Quartet, Bang On A Can, Alarm Will Sound, Opera North and others. Alongside her DJing and producing solo works, she was a keen collaborator, frequently working with a wide range of global musicians, dancers and artists as well forerunners in other disciplines — science, technology, architecture, theatre and film. She has also incorporated classical orchestration into her work for installation pieces, film soundtracks, theatre, and opera. Mira has been commissioned to write new works for the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic-Ensemble 10/10, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Aldeburgh Festival, Bang On A Can, London Sinfonietta, Opera North, and The Manchester International Festival, among others.
In the autumn of 2009 she won a British Composer Award for her composition My Secret Heart. The installation, commissioned by Streetwise Opera, and featuring the voices of a 100 strong choir, was also the recipient of a Royal Philharmonic Society Award in 2009 and was a finalist in the arts category of the National Lottery Award in 2010. Her collaboration with United Visual Artists on Chorus, an installation commissioned by Opera North, received an Award of Distinction in the Interactive Category at Prix Ars Electronica 2010. Her score for the film opera Fables, a collaboration with visual artists Flat-E, was nominated for a British Composer Award in 2011.
In 2012 Mira created her first sculptural work, ‘Nothing Is Set In Stone.' The monolithic musical sculpture was commissioned by The Mayor Of London and Oxford Contemporary Music in partnership with The Natural History Museum and Exhibition Road Group. The installation was part of the London 2012 Festival Cultural Olympiad program. 2012 also saw the commission of a new soundtrack score by the British Film Institute for Alfred Hitchcock’s Champagne. The newly restored 1926 full length feature premiered in London in September as part of the Genius of Hitchcock program at the BFI.
In the spring of 2013 Mira Calix was one of the three featured composers at the Metropolis Music Festival alongside Thomas Ades and Mathew Herbert. She performed two classical concerts, a comprehensive retrospective of works at the Melbourne Recital, premiering the specially commissioned he fell amongst roses.
Her 2018 work for Beyond the Deepening Shadow: The Tower Remembers, attracted her largest audience yet: 300,000 people over seven days. As journalist Jude Rogers wrote for The Guardian: "A setting of a sonnet by early 20th-century poet and war nurse, Mary Borden, she worked with singing collective Solomon’s Knot and musician Laura Cannell to make her incredible sound installation at the Tower of London, as its moat fluttered with candles marking the centenary of Armistice Day."