Steampunk stories and music from space: Clio Em is as intensely dedicated to creative craft as she is fearless in her expression.
“The songs are very well written… intelligent and inspired… if you’re curious about what type of music a child of the 21st-century can create, follow her, step by step.”
– Maurice Du Berger, reviewing Gravity Wing for I Care if You Listen
Clio Em (also working as Clio Montrey) is a composer, mezzo-soprano, multi-instrumentalist, and writer. She has received numerous awards for her creative work, including four competitive artist grants from the Austrian Ministry of Arts and Culture, as well as the Alice and Betty Schultz Scholarship from The Banff Centre. Clio writes creative pieces and performs genre-defying stories and compositions that blur the borders between folk, classical, electronica, and science fiction.
Clio is an alumna of McGill University (BMus composition – Jean Lesage, Jonathan Wild – and piano – Tom Plaunt), the Vienna Conservatory (MA composition with Christian Minkowitsch and diploma in classical operetta with Wolfgang Dosch), and the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna (postgraduate studies in composition working with voice and electroacoustic elements under the tutelage of Karlheinz Essl). She is currently working on a musicology PhD at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, where her research focus is vocal music and science fiction worldbuilding.
Clio sings with the award-winning Arnold Schoenberg Chor for both their concerts and their opera productions at Theater an der Wien. Other credits as a mezzo-soprano include Schlossfestspiele Langenlois, Wiener Kammerchor, and The Element Choir backing Tanya Tagaq at the Montreal Jazz Fest 2017.
The contemporary classical concert series she founded and directs, Fleurs rejetées, is a contemporary take on the Salon des refusés. Clio composed the opera PHOTO SOCRATES to a libretto by Klara Du Plessis, which premiered in 2012 in Vienna. Her first opera as librettist, SLEEP, received its workshop premiere on 16 March 2019 through Chants Libres, set to music by composer Anthony R. Green. Clio was on the research team of Barbara Lüneburg’s project TransCoding/What if?, based at the Kunstuni Graz, as well as on the music preparation team for World of Hans Zimmer.
Clio extends her artistic practice through improvisatory photography.