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Anne Boyd : Represented Artist

Boyd's music is based on the intersection of Christian Love with Buddhist silence. Some of her more recent work explores Christian mysticism.

Random Audio Sample: Goldfish through summer rain : for flute and piano by Anne Boyd, from the CD Piping hot

Photo of Anne Boyd


Anne Boyd has enjoyed a distinguished career as a composer and music educator. She graduated from the University of Sydney with a BA Hons in Music degree in 1967 and subsequently, in 1972, from the University of York in England with a PhD in composition. She has held academic positions at the University of Sussex (1972-77) and at the University of Hong Kong, where she was the founding Head of the Department of Music (1981-1990). In 1990 she became the first Australian and the first woman to be appointed Professor of Music at the University of Sydney where her research work focuses upon the influence of landscape and of Asian music upon Australian composers. Her struggles to ensure the survival of this department gained international attention through the release of the Connolly/Anderson award winning documentary Facing the Music (2001).

Born in 1946, Anne Boyd wrote her first compositions as a little girl growing up on a remote outback sheep station in Central Queensland where her only music teaching was via ABC Radio (especially The Children's Hour's Mr Melody Man) and a recorder book. Much later she became a student of Peter Sculthorpe and inherited through him a lifelong fascination with the musical cultures of South East Asia, especially Japan and Indonesia. She regards the ancient court music of Japan as a primary influence, the closest musical representation of the arid outback landscape of her early childhood. Composition is viewed as essentially spiritual and she is much interested in the idea of music as meditation, as a means of changing states of consciousness. Her music is based on the intersection of Christian Love with Buddhist silence. Some of her more recent work explores Christian mysticism.

Anne Boyd's best known compositions, which are played throughout the world, include the meditation for solo piano Angklung (1974) one of several works written for, or inspired by, the pianist Roger Woodward; the choral composition A Vision: Jesus Reassures His Mother; the song cycle for voice and chamber ensemble Meditations on a Chinese Character (1996); Goldfish Through Summer Rain (1979) for flute and piano; and the orchestral work Grathawai (1993).

BoydÂ’s music is published by Faber Music ( London) and the University of York Music Press. In 1997, ABC Classics produced a disc solely dedicated to her work, Meditations on a Chinese Character, the royalties from which support the Australian Women's Music Fund and in 2000 Tall Poppies released another disc of her music, Crossing a Bridge of Dreams.

In 1996 Anne Boyd was honoured with the award of an AM in the Order of Australia for her service to Music as a composer and educator. In 2003, she was conferred Honorary Doctor of the University by the University of York (UK).

Biography provided by the composer — current to September 2005

Teacher/Influence on

John Bostock (2000 - 2004)

Peggy Polias (2000 - current)

Jane Stanley

Nicholas Vines (1995)

Awards & Prizes

Year Award Placing Awarded for
2005 Classical Music Awards - Distinguished Services to Australian Music Winner
1996 Order of Australia Member of the Order In recognition of service as a composer and educator

Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
Digital sheet music sample The quiet place : for oboe, clarinet, viola and harp Commissioned by the Warwick and Leamington Festival for performance by Okeanos on their New Music Day on 14th July 2002.
Digital sheet music sample Yuya : for tenor recorder and string quartet Written at the request of John Turner for inclusion in a concert in Manchester to honour Tony Gilbert on the occasion of his 70th birthday.
Digital sheet music sample Kabarli meditation (Dawn) : for piano solo (2011) Commissioned for the 2012 Sydney International Piano Competition
Digital sheet music sample Missa Pacifica : for soprano, large choir, brass band and organ (2008) Commissioned for the 2008 Intervarsity Choral Festival
Digital sheet music sample Ex deo lux : for clarinet in B flat and string quartet (2007) Commissioned especially for the 2007 SSO Fellows Ensemble.
Gate of water : for alto flute/piccolo, bass clarinet, violin, 'cello and piano (2007) Commissioned by Ars Musica Australis, Rev. Dr Arthur Bridge for performance by Kammer Ensemble.

Analysis & Media

Book: Women of note : the rise of Australian women composers / Rosalind Appleby.

Book: Anne Boyd : the composer and her music. / by Deborah Crisp.

- Article: Regaining lost composure.

- Article: The Political Education Of Anne Boyd, Composer

- Article: Across her bridge of dreams

- Article: Women of note

- Program note: Flower Songs Ross Edwards

- Review: The Song Company Women and Music September 1994

- Program note: Revelations of Divine Love (1994)

- Review: Desire Divine The Song Company 28 July 1998

- Program note: Anne Boyd's "Jade flower song"
by Anne Boyd. © University of York Music Press