Paul Clift

Paul Clift (b. 1978), 2014 DMA in Composition, is an Australian composer based in Basel, Switzerland. His music often attempts to make abstract associations with a variety of concepts such as linguistics, modernist literature & painting, cognitive phenomena, and extra-European musical traditions. Paul’s music has been performed by ensembles such as the JACK Quartet, ICE, Argento, Mivos Quartet, L’instant Donné, Either/Or, Contrechamps, Proton, Neofonia, Novel Ensemble Modern & Klangforum Wien, and by esteemed soloists such as Kobe Van Cauwenberghe, Olivia Steimel, William Lang, Patrick Stadler, Geoff Landmann, as well as his wife, Slovenian flautist Anja Clift.

Paul’s compositional outlook is marked by formative studies with George Benjamin, Jean-Luc Hervé, Fred Lerdahl, Philippe Leroux, Fabien Lévy & Tristan Murail. He obtained a Doctorate of Musical Arts from Columbia University, New York, a Masters of Music at King's College, London and also completed the IRCAM Cursus de composition et d'informatique musicale, culminating in the premiere of With my limbs in the dark, composed in collaboration with choreographer Alban Richard. He has also participated in master-classes such as Royaumont Voix Nouvelles, Acanthes, Domaine Forget, IMPULS, June in Buffalo, MATRIX, Internationale Sommerakademie der MDW & Darmstadt Ferienkursen. In 2016, Paul was awarded a residency at Villa Sträuli/Sulzberg Foundation in Switzerland.

In addition to composing, Paul is active as a researcher; he has undertaken research-residencies notably at the Paul Sacher Foundation (2014) and IRCAM (2014-15). He is also the Artistic-Director of neuverBand, a new-music chamber ensemble based in Basel. Paul's music is published online at For more information, visit


Columbia Degrees: 
DMA, Composition