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Susan Frykberg


Born: 1954 Website  


Susan Frykberg is a composer of electroacoustic and instrumental music who often combines feminist ideas and selected theatrical processes in her work. She has created a number of 'environments' in which stories (often mythological), of women's lives are the context for her music. Since the birth of her son Esha, much of her music has attempted to bring some sense of the momentous and awe-inspiring nature of birth-giving (and hence motherhood), into her work.

Most recently, Susan has immersed herself in contemplation on the nature of Western Civilization, through deep study of Theology, Ancient Greek, Latin and Gregorian Chant. Susan has studied with, and been influenced by composers John Rimmer, Barry Vercoe, Barry Connyngham, Iannis Xenakis, Barry Truax and priest and theologian Kevin McKone. As a recent convert to Catholicism, she is currently exploring the lively, turbulent and sometimes fraught relationship between the Catholic Church, the arts and society.

Her music has been recorded for the label Earsay. Early works were recorded for Underwich Editions - Toronto.

Susan is a member of The Canadian Music Centre, The World Forum of Acoustic Ecology and the Canadian Electroacoustic Community. She has a Masters degree from SFU (Simon Fraser University, Canada), and has received commissions and grants through the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council from some of Canada's leading performers. She taught for seven years in the School of Communication at Simon Fraser University, has been a regular guest lecturer at The Ontario College of Art, Toronto, and Emily Carr College, Vancouver, and taught Electroacoustic Music at Auckland University in 1989.

“a tour de force in both composition and subject… sumptuous and dynamic sound textures throughout.” —Anna Rubin, Computer Music Journal

Composed (42)

A Distant Singing

for synthesiser and tape, 12m

American Edgings

for electronic tape, 10m

Birth/Rebirth/Bearing Me

for mixed tapes, 8m

Breathing the Word with Wind and Water

for five voices, trombone and taonga puoro


for tape, singer and two actors, 16m

Dr Hodgkinson and Women Voters

for female voice and percussion


for electronic tape, 7m

Heralding Change

for french horn and tape, 15m

Honouring the Hosts Honouring the Guests

for six world instruments and sound technician


for live mixed and diffused tapes, 18m

I Didn't Think Much About It

for piano and tape

Insect Life

for tape, voice and signal processing


for tape, saxophone, dancer and actor-singer, 45m


for tape, 3m

Mother Too

for voice, tape, live signal processing and small meditation bells

Music to Watch Cows By

for piano, 7m

My Mother

for male voice, tapes and signal processing, live mixed and diffused, 16m

Ninety's a Number That Doesn't Mean Much

for soprano, oboe and piano

Om 152 - Getting There

for cello and tape, 12m

Piano Study #1

for piano and tape, 6m

Processional for the Feast of the Assumption of Mary

for singers, ensemble, percussionists, stiltwalkers and children

Radio Life

for tape, voice and signal processing


for electronic tape, 7m


for counter-tenor, actress, tapes, synthesisers and electronics, 45m


for tape and voice, 35m

Sue and Kathy Telecompose Across the Country

for tape, voice and live communications systems

Suite from Saxarba

for tape, 16m

The Day is Come

for tenor and piano

The Garden

for tape, mixed media and actors, 35m


for synthesiser and electronic tape, 12m

Ubi Caritas for the 21st Century

for SATB choir and organ with soprano and baritone soloists, crotales and woodblock, 3m 30s

Virgin Mother

for unaccompanied low voices

Virgin Mother

for unaccompanied high voices

Waxing your Cloth

for live electronics and tape, 15m

Ways of Perceiving

for voice and chamber ensemble, 10m

Whanganui Soundscapes

for string quartet

Woman and House

for singer, actors, electronics and tapes, 55m

Recordings (1)

Performances (2)

Music From Her

Our Music From Her festival, held in mid-October, will celebrate, support and encourage diverse v...

Suffrage Songs Recomposed

Featuring nine female composers, this concert will see a collection of New Zealand women’s suffra...