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Red Contributor

Annea Lockwood

Composer, Performer

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Born: 1939


Born in New Zealand in 1939, Annea Lockwood moved to England in 1961, studying composition at the Royal College of Music, London, attending summer courses at Darmstadt and completing her studies in Cologne and Holland, taking courses in electronic music with Gottfried Michael Koenig. In 1973 feeling a strong connection to such American composers as Pauline Oliveros, John Cage, the Sonic Arts Union (Ashley, Behrman, Mumma, Lucier), and invited by composer Ruth Anderson to teach at Hunter College, CUNY, she moved again to the US and settled in Crompond, NY. She was an Emerita Professor at Vassar College.

During the 1960s she collaborated with sound poets, choreographers and visual artists, and also created a number of works such as the Glass Concerts, which initiated her lifelong fascination with timbre and new sound sources. In synchronous homage to Christian Barnard’s pioneering heart transplants, Lockwood began a series of Piano Transplants (1969–82) in which defunct pianos were burned, drowned, beached, and planted in an English garden.

During the 1970s and ’80s she turned her attention to performance works focused on environmental sounds and life-narratives, often using low-tech devices such as her Sound Ball, containing six small speakers and a receiver, designed by Robert Bielecki for Three Short Stories and an Apotheosis, in which the ball is rolled, swung on a long cord and passed around the audience. World Rhythms, A Sound Map of the Hudson River, Delta Run, built around a conversation she recorded with the sculptor, Walter Wincha, who was close to death, and other works were widely presented in the US, Europe and in New Zealand.

Since the early 1990s, she has written for a number of ensembles and solo performers, often incorporating electronics and visual elements. Thousand Year Dreaming is scored for four didgeridus, conch shell trumpets and other instruments and incorporates slides of the cave paintings at Lascaux. Duende, a collaboration with baritone Thomas Buckner, carries the singer into a heightened state, similar to a shamanic journey, through the medium of his own voice. Ceci n’est pas un piano for piano, video and electronics merges images from the Piano Transplants with Jennifer Hymer’s musings on her hands and pianos she has owned, her voice being sent through, and coloured by the piano strings.

Other recent work includes Vortex commissioned by Bang on a Can for the All-Stars; a surround-sound installation, A Sound Map of the Danube; Luminescence, settings of texts by Etel Adnan for Thomas Buckner and the SEM Ensemble; Gone! in which a little piano-shaped music box, attached to 20 helium balloons, is released from a concert grand and floats off over the audience playing, in one case, Memories. Jitterbug, commissioned by the Merce Cunningham Dance Company for the dance eyeSpace, incorporates Lockwood’s recordings of aquatic insects, and two improvising musicians working from photographs of rock surfaces. Poems by three of the prisoners in Guantanamo Bay are the focus of In Our Name, a collaboration with Thomas Buckner for baritone voice, cello and ‘tape’.

Much of her music has been recorded, on the Lovely, XI, Mutable, Pogus, EM Records (Japan), Rattle Records, Soundz Fine (NZ), Harmonia Mundi and Ambitus labels. She is a recipient of the 2007 Henry Cowell Award.

Composed (49)

A Sound Map of Danube

5.1 sound installation, 2h 47m

A Sound Map of the Hudson River

a tape installation, 2h

Amazonia Dreaming

for snare drum and voice, 10m

Aspects of a Parable

For baritone and ten instruments, 20m

Bow Falls

music for video by Paul Ryan


for two channel tape

Cloud Music

for four channel tape, 20m

Conversations with the Ancestors

mixed media installation, 1h

Deep Dream Dive

for double bass with amplification, 25m

Delta Run

for stereo tape, slide projection and movement, 25m


for baritone and sound file


for two channel tape

Ear-Walking Woman

for prepared piano with amplification, 22m

For Richard

A song for baritone and clarinet, 3m

Ground of Being

for two channel tape


for chorus

I give you back

for unaccompanied soprano, 7m


for percussion quartet


for percussion duo

In Our Name

for baritone, cello and sound files


for two live musicians reading graphic scores and electroacoustic score


for baritone, female speaker and ensemble


for solo voice or duet


a lullaby for SSA chorus and alto solo, 3m

Monkey Trips

for chamber ensemble including non-western instruments and slides, 35m


for didjeridus, conch shells, and percussion

Night and Fog

A song cycle for baritone, tape and ensemble, 22m

Piano Burning


Piano Drowning


Piano Garden

sound sculptures/installations

Play the Ganges backwards one more time, Sam

for tape and slides installation


for solo piano

Red Mesa

for piano with light amplification, 14m


for 16 voices, SATB and 4 unpitched gongs, 12m


for chamber orchestra, 10m

Singing the Earth, Singing the Air

for one or more voices

Southern Exposure

sound sculpture/installation

Spirit Catchers

for four voices with amplification

The Angle of Repose

for baritone and alto flute doubling khaen (Thai sho), 14m

The Glass Concert

for glass and amplification, 1h



Thousand Year Dreaming

for chamber ensemble and slides, 45m

Three Short Stories and an Apotheosis

for tape, slides and FM transmission

Tiger Balm

for tape (originally for tape and movement), 20m

Tongues of Fire, Tongues of Silk

A choral work for 8 sopranos (with rattles) and percussion

Western Spaces

microtonal work for flutes, zoomoozoophone and percussion, 10m


for tape, 23m

World Rhythms

10 channels of tape and large gong, 1h