Lili Holland-Fricke is a british-german cellist, composer, and visual artist based in Manchester. Her music combines the many sounds of the cello with words, electronics, and voice to create intricate songs and instrumentals. Inspired by artists like Ichiko Aoba, Eartheater, Caroline Shaw, Adrianne Lenker, and FKA Twigs, Lili seeks to weave together unusual textures and sounds, with words that evoke dreamlike images and feelings. Since releasing her debut EP ‘Birdsong for Breakfast’ last year, Lili was chosen as the winner of Spitfire Audio x Nyokabi Kariũki’s Recompose Competition with her song ‘Draw on the Walls,’ and of the RNCM’s Elias Prize for a performance of her piece ‘Dayblind Stars’ for string quartet and voice.
‘[Lili’s music] held us within its stilling, delicate realm, inviting us into a world full of light and fluttering colour. [It] trusts in its own softness and balance and as we listen, we find ourselves fully immersed, and fully moved by its sway.’ - Nyokabi Kariũki
Lili also writes music in a collaborative duo with fellow Manchester based sound-artist and composer Hayley Suviste. Together they create dark and swirling soundscapes, constructed from processed cello, clarinet, shruti box, electronics, and vocals. They were selected to take part in the 2023 Summer Studios Residency programme at Sage Gateshead.
As a cellist, Lili enjoys playing in projects across genres, particularly in the worlds of contemporary-classical and improvisation. For the first years of her undergraduate degree, she studied classical cello at the RNCM under Hannah Roberts and Chris Hoyle, then switched to do the second half of her degree on the Popular Music course, studying with Steve Berry and Olly Coates. As a teenager, Lili held principal positions in the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and Hallé Youth Orchestra, playing in venues such as the Barbican, the Bridgewater Hall, and the Royal Albert Hall at the BBC Proms. She has since performed in professional projects with Manchester Collective, the BBC Philharmonic, and Manchester Camerata.
Passionate about performing music written by living composers, Lili has worked closely with friend and composer Phoenix Rousiamanis to record and premier their new works, including their operetta ‘Songs of Descent,’ a new duo for violin and cello, and a commission for cello and voice.
Lili plays in an improvising trio together with harpist-composer Manon McCoy and guitarist Stuart McCallum. As Manon and Lili play, their sounds are manipulated live by Stuart through his many pedal boards, resulting in music that spontaneously flows between soundworlds, with none of them knowing what noise is going to come out of their instruments next.
Alongside her own music practice, Lili loves to make visual art inspired by the music of other people. As she paints, she visualizes the soundworlds of different albums or individual songs, and synthesizes melodies, harmonies, and timbres into lines, colours, and textures. She is regularly commissioned to create album artwork for new releases, and had her first debut solo exhibition at Tegg’s Nose Gallery in 2022. Lili finds the process of turning sound into paintings to be intensely grounding, and hosts workshop-gigs in Manchester with promoter BOTHY under the name ‘Soundseeing’, where the audience is invited to share in this feeling of groundedness by drawing what they hear while listening to live music by local artists.