Annea Lockwood

Working with Rivers
Mar 22, 2022 at - | Penn Music Building - Lerner 101, 201 S. 34th Street Philadelphia, PA 19104

Annea Lockwood

Working with Rivers

March 22, 2022 (Tuesday) — 5:15 pm to 7:00 pm

Lerner Center
Penn Music Building
201 S. 34th Street, Room 101



Since 1970 Lockwood has recorded rivers in many countries, not to document them, but rather for the special state of mind and body which the sounds of moving water create when one listens intently to the complex mesh of rhythms and pitches. Each stretch of a river has its own sonic texture, formed by the terrain, varying according to the weather, the season and, downstream, the human environment whose sounds are intimately woven into the river’s sounds.


“With bringing rivers into an urban environment through sound, I’ve long hoped to convey the experience of that sound as a nourishing form of energy. And perhaps indirectly, over time, the experience becomes real, concrete, immediate, close up. Perhaps that person will slowly be able to empathize or understand more, even take steps politically and socially to preserve the phenomenon. My process is really indirect but it is direct.” – Annea Lockwood



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 is an Emerita Professor at Vassar College.

Since the early 1990s, she has written for a number of ensembles and solo performers, often incorporating electronics and visual elements. Thousand Year Dreamingis 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 colored 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 DanubeLuminescence, 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, MemoriesJitterbug, 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.