Chong Lim

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Chong Lim
Lim in his Richmond Studio
Lim in his Richmond Studio
Background information
Birth nameChong Voon Lim
Born (1958-02-11) 11 February 1958 (age 63)
Ipoh, Malaysia
Occupation(s)Musician, producer, music director
Years active1981–present
Associated actsJohn Farnham, Olivia Newton-John

Chong Voon Lim AM (born Ipoh, Malaysia) is a Malaysian-born Australian-based musical director, keyboardist, producer, and session musician. Lim attended St. Michael's Institution for secondary education.[1] He relocated to Melbourne, Australia in 1977, where he attended Geelong College, and then completed a mechanical engineering course at University of Melbourne from 1978 to 1981.[1][2] Lim has toured with Jermaine Jackson and John Farnham, after Farnham's long-time collaborator David Hirschfelder left to concentrate on film scores. He has toured and been music director and producer for Olivia Newton-John since 1998 and is patron of the Olivia Newton-John Foundation.[3]

Lim is a consultant for the musical instrument company Roland Corporation, producer of an album for Tommy Emmanuel and wrote music for the 2000 Summer Olympics[4] in Sydney, was musical director and composer for the closing ceremony of the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games. He was also musical director for the stage version of Dirty Dancing, Don't Forget Your Toothbrush and Kylie Minogue's Intimate and Live Tour.

In the 2018 Queen's Birthday Honours Lim was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for "significant service to the performing arts as a musician, composer, producer and musical director, and to the community".[3]


2000 Sydney Olympics[edit]

Lim composed several pieces of work for both the 2000 Summer Olympics opening ceremony and the 2000 Summer Olympics closing ceremony.[5] He composed ‘Nature,’[6] an opening ceremony piece, as well as ‘Journey of Angels’ which was played during the placing of the flags. Lim also produced two works for the Opening Ceremony including ‘Heroes Live Forever,’ as well as ‘Dare to Dream’ which was sung by Olivia Newton-John and long-time colleague and friend John Farnham.

The closing ceremony also included production by Lim, such as ‘Under the Southern Skies’ which was performed by Nikki Webster. He also produced ‘We’ll Be One,’ the theme song of the Olympics,[7] as well as arranging ‘Dancing Queen’ sung by Kylie Minogue in the Closing Ceremony.

All of Lim's original scores of his compositions can now be found in the National Archives of Australia in Canberra.


Lim was the Musical Director of the Closing Ceremony for the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester and also directed and composed ‘Don’t Dream It’s Over’ sung by Sarah Blasko and Paul Kelly in the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. Lim also composed segments in the Opening Ceremony of the 2006 Asian Games in Doha. From 2010 and the six years following, Lim was the Musical Director for the Melbourne Cup Opening Ceremonies, and was the Musical Director of the 2015 AFC Asian Cup[8] in Melbourne. Lim also continued these successes globally, where was an arranger for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

More recently, Lim has worked on National Sporting Event entertainment such as Musically Directing the 2020 AFL Grand Final Half Time Show,[9] in which he also arranged for and conducted the Queensland Symphony Orchestra.[10] Lim was also the Musical Director for the 2020-21 Big Bash League season[11] in Tasmania, as well as the Musical Director and producer of the Opening entertainment for the 2021 Australian Open Women's Final.[12]

John Farnham[edit]

Lim began working for John Farnham in 1994, working as his Musical Director.[13] Since this beginning, Lim has been a long-standing band and crew member, musically directing almost every tour and event that Farnham has conducted. These include:

Date Event
1994 Talk of the Town Tour
1996 Jack of Hearts Tour
1998 The Main Event Featuring Olivia Newton-John and Anthony Warlow
2000 Man of the Hour Tour
2002 The Last Time Tour
2005 Together in Concert Featuring Tom Jones
2006 Songs from the Great Australian Songbook Featuring the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
2011 Whispering Jack 25 Years On
2014 Lionel Richie and John Farnham
2014 One Stage, Two Legends
2015 John Farnham and Olivia Newton-John
2015 One Night Only with Daryl Braithwaite, Ross Wilson
2017 Red Hot Summer
2019 Red Hot Summer with Thirsty Merc, Daryl Braithwaite, Vanessa Amorosi, Jon Stevens and Dragon (band)
2020 Falls Festival
2020 Fire Fight Australia

In 2016 Lim also Produced John Farnham and Olivia Newton-John’s Christmas Album ‘Friends for Christmas.[14]


From 1999 – 2008 Lim was the Musical Director for the Australian Logie Awards, which is broadcast nationally each year. Since 2004 Lim has worked as musical director for the Australian version of Dancing with the Stars, running for 15 consecutive seasons. Lim Musically Directed for the Australian Talent Show It Takes Two (Australian TV series) which ran for three seasons from 2006 to 2008 and has been music director of the Victorian Schools Spectacular since 2011.[3] In 2020 Lim also musically directed and arranged for Amy Shark in the ARIA Music Awards.

Directing and Composition[edit]

Lim began his Musical Directing career in Australia in 1997, when he directed and composed a group of works for the opening of the Atrium Crown Melbourne, which still plays to this day. This included not only works of Lim’s production, but also live conduction with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. In 1998 Lim Co Produced the original I Still Call Australia Home Qantas Advertisements with Lindsay Field.[15] In 1998 Lim secured the role of Musical Director for ‘Grease; The Arena Spectacular’ which was such a box office success that it returned for a second season in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. Lim has also continued to direct and compose in the Asia-Pacific region, including ‘Citrawarna’ in Kuala Lumper,[16] ‘Bali Agung’ for the Bali Marine and Safari Park,[17] and ‘Pearl of the Seas’ in the Jakarta Aquarium.[18]

From 2000, Lim accelerated his career continuing to build his Australian reputation in the industry. From directing The Motown Tour in 2009 (feat The Four Tops, The Temptations, Martha Reeves, The Miracles, Mary Wilson) to The Mission Estate Concert with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra in 2014,[19] Dirty Dancing The Classic Story on Stage in 2015 to Disney Under the Stars in 2015 (feat David Campbell (singer), Ricki-Lee Coulter, Harrison Craig and Lucy Durack).[20] Lim was also the Co-Creator and Musical Director of Rolling Thunder the Musical.[21]

In 2017 Lim directed his first Good Friday Appeal Super Show in Melbourne, which he has continued in 2018 and 2019.


In 2001 Lim produced Nikki Webster’s ‘Strawberry Kisses’[22] which ran at number two on the ARIA Charts for seven consecutive weeks. It was certified ARIA Gold in its second week, and was shortly after certified as ARIA Platinum.[23] Lim went on to produce David Campbell (singer)’s third and fourth studio albums ‘The Swing Sessions’[24] 1 and 2 in 2006 (Both AUS Platinum), also producing his tenth studio album ‘Back in the Swing’ in 2019. In 2011 Lim Produced[25] Sarah McKenzie’s first and second studio albums ‘Don’t Tempt Me’ and ‘Close Your Eyes’ which were both ARIA nominated for Best Jazz Album with Close Your Eyes winning the ARIA for that year. He also produced her most recent studio album ‘Secrets of my Heart’ recording in New York.


In 1998 Lim was the Musical Director for Kylie Minogue’s Intimate and Live (concert tour)[26] in support of her album ‘Impossible Princess.’ Lim went on in 1999 to musically direct Olivia Newton-John’s One Woman's Journey Tour in the United States.

In 2015, Lim was the Musical Director of the ‘All You Need is Love’ Tour, going on in 2017 to direct the Elvis ‘The Wonder of You’ Tour[27] in Australia.


ARIA Music Awards[edit]

The ARIA Music Awards is an annual awards ceremony that recognises excellence, innovation, and achievement across all genres of the music of Australia.

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2012 Sarah McKenzie's Close Your Eyes ARIA Award for Producer of the Year Nominated
2019 Rolling Thunder Helpmann Award for Best Composer Nominated


  1. ^ a b "LIM, Voon Chong". Heritage Guide to The Geelong College. Geelong College. Retrieved 24 April 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ "Chong Lim". John Farnham official website. Retrieved 24 April 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ a b c "Member (AM) of the Order of Australia" (PDF). Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 July 2018. Retrieved 2 July 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games, Olympic Opening Ceremony (printed program), (Sydney 2000), p. 29.
  5. ^ “selection of songs and music from the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games”
  6. ^ “Chong Lim ‘A Composed Olympian’” Accessed 24 February 2021
  7. ^ “Olympic Games Theme Song” Accessed 24 February 2021
  8. ^ "Havana Brown headlines Asian Cup opening ceremony". Archived from the original on 3 January 2015. Retrieved 3 January 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ "2020 AFL Grand Final Entertainment Revealed". Retrieved 24 February 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ "The woman shining a unique Queensland light on to the AFL's big dance". Retrieved 24 February 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ "Ten years of the KFC Big Bash League remembered". Retrieved 24 February 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  12. ^ "'I Am Woman'". Retrieved 24 February 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  13. ^ "Chong Lim". Retrieved 24 February 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  14. ^ "John Farnham & Olivia Newton-John – Friends for Christmas". Retrieved 24 February 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  15. ^ "Qantas Acknowledges NBCA 50th Anniversary". Retrieved 24 February 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  16. ^ "Celebrating the colors of Malaysia at Citrawarna @ Kuala Lumpur 2015". Retrieved 24 February 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  17. ^ "Bali Agung Show at Bali Safari Park". Retrieved 24 February 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  18. ^ “Pearl of the South Sea Shadow” Accessed 24 February 2021
  19. ^ “Mission Concert 2014 line up announced” Accessed 24 February 2021
  20. ^ “Disney in concert – Under The Stars” Accessed 24 February 2021
  21. ^ “Rolling Thunder Vietnam” Accessed 24 February 2021
  22. ^ "Nikki Webster – Strawberry Kisses". Retrieved 24 February 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  23. ^ "ARIA Top 10 Australian Singles for 2000". Retrieved 24 February 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  24. ^ "David Campbell – The Swing Sessions". Retrieved 24 February 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  25. ^ "Sarah McKenzie – Story". Retrieved 24 February 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  26. ^ "Kylie – Intimate and Live Tour". Retrieved 24 February 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  27. ^ "The Wonder of You Concert Melbourne". Retrieved 24 February 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)


External links[edit]