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John Cousins


Born: 1943 Website  


John Cousins was born in 1943 in Wellington. He received training as a musician, graduating with an honors degree in music from the University of Canterbury in 1965. In 1967 he was appointed to the staff of the School of Music of that University, where he worked as teacher and creative artist until 2004, when he left the university in order to concentrate fully on making and promulgating his work which has evolved over the years from conventional musical composition to sculptural performance, mixed media and sonic art. His works have been performed, broadcast and exhibited in Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany, Holland, Mexico, South America, Russia and the United States of America.

John's work Say was nominated for a SOUNZ Contemporary Award in 2004. In 2005 John was awarded the KBB Citation for Services to New Zealand Music by CANZ (Composers' Association of New Zealand). Much of John's recent work has explored the electroacoustic medium using multichannel outputs, including multimedia integration. In 2013 contemporary art project space The Physics Room coordinated visits to John's acousmonium loudspeaker orchestra, as part of their Loudspeaker as Shaman showing.

Photo credit: Colleen Anstey

Composed (64)


for tape, 12m


mixed media/performance installation

Arthurs Pass Project

aeolian harp installations and public field day

Between Floors

multichannel electroacoustic, 20m 15s

Birth Circle

multichannel electroacoustic


performance installation

Bowed Peace

performance installation, 45m


multichannel electroacoustic, 27m


mixed media/performance installation


for tape, 20m

Co-active Play

mixed media/performance installation

Concert for Strings I

mixed media/performance installation, 40m

Concert For Strings II

mixed media/performance installation, 1h

Cube Study

performance installation work - mixed media, 1m

Devotional Equivalents

video with soundtracks, 24m 40s

Dulce et Decorum est pro Patria Mori

for baritone, SATB choir, tape and orchestra, 15m

Earth Turn Overlap

multi-monitor video installation

Eddie's Wall

for intermedia, performance sculpture and installation

Edit For Pauline

for tape, 23m

Edit for Pauline

performance installation version, 45m

I Sing of Olaf

for three voices, three cellos and three flutes

Icons for Birdlings Flat

mixed media/performance installation

Ictus (Meditation on a Chinese Drinking Bowl)

mixed media/performance installation

In Place

multichannel electroacoustic, 40m 54s

In Real Time

group performance installation


performance installation, 7h

On Listening In

for tape


for tape, 14m

Paturau Equivalent

video with soundtracks, 3m 35s

Paturau Interface

environmental sound sculpture project

Reciprocal Traverses

multi-monitor video installation


multichannel electroacoustic, 31m

River Song

video with soundtracks, 20m 10s


mixed media, audiovisual, 17m

Sea Section

multichannel electroacoustic, 34m 37s

Six Points and a Postscript

for violin and piano

Sleep Exposure

for tape, 15m

Sleep Exposure

mixed media/performance installation

Songs for the Little Lady

mixed media/performance installation

Sound Sculpture In The Environment

outdoor sound installation


mixed media/performance installation, 1h

Speak Memory

electroacoustic work


mixed media/performance installation

String Quartet

for string quartet

Strings and Things

mixed media/performance installation, 45m

Sunwalk Emblem

installation in wood, brass, photographic mosaic and five channel sound, 30m

Sunwalk Mandala

installation, multiple slide projectors and stereo sound track, 25m

Sunwalk Series

mixed media/performance installation

Talking Books

four audio books, 5m

Tense Test

for tape, 26m

The Quarter

for tape

The Reason Why

for voice and string orchestra, 7m

The Revelation of St. John the Divine

multichannel electroacoustic, 34m 43s

Three Little Duets

for violin and viola, 4m

Three Songs

for two singers/pianists

Three Songs

for high voice and piano, 9m

Three Songs

for soprano and string orchestra, 6m

Three Songs 1970

for voice and piano, 5m

Three Songs of Truth

for tape, voice and synthesiser, 20m

Within the Frame

multichannel electroacoustic, 14m 10s

Works for Eyes and Ears

video projection, automated slides and sound, 1h 40m

Wouldn't You Say

for tape, 12m


for tape, 4m