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Lucy Mulgan


Born: 1971


Lucy Mulgan (b. 1971) is a composer and bass player from Aotearoa New Zealand who works in a variety of musical styles.

Her compositions range from sweeping orchestral landscapes to quirky original songs and her music has been played across Europe and NZ As a bass player, she works regularly in the worlds of opera and jazz.

In 1992 she graduated from the Wellington Conservatorium of Music with a diploma in Jazz Performance and worked in NZ as a composer and bass player before moving to the UK in 1996. There she studied at York University, obtaining a PhD in composition in 2004.

Currently Lucy divides her time between London and the South Coast of the UK, while remaining connected to the New Zealand music community both as a participant and ambassador.

Lucy’s music has been performed by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (NZSO), BBC Philharmonic, Northern Sinfonia (UK), Saxcess, Ethos, juice vocal ensemble (UK), members of The Hilliard Ensemble (UK) and broadcast on BBC World (TV), BBC Radio 3 & 4, Concert FM and Radio NZ.

Current composition projects include:

Red! - her first opera commissioned by Barefoot Opera UK. Aimed at 8 - 10 year olds this will be performed across primary schools in the South East of UK in 2019. A NZ production with Orchestra Wellington is being planned for 2020.

Pygmailion - a reworking of the Rameau’s one-act baroque opera for The Weaver Dance Company touring in UK and Europe in 2019.

A Town - an ongoing community opera project with Barefoot Opera from 2018 – 2020. Lucy is one of the creative team running improvisation and composition workshops with community groups including school children, community choirs, refugee groups, homeless charities.

Past highlights include:

Orchestral Manoeuvres (2017) - commissioned for recorder & marimba by Evelyn Nallen.

Bees (2014) - co-created with Kerry Andrew (voice) featured on BBC Radio 3 The Verb & BBC Radio 4 Pick of the Week.

Composing the soundtrack for the film Europe’s Last Dictator narrated by Joanna Lumley - which won best documentary at London Independent Film Festival 2012.

Voices of Exile - performed by juice vocal ensemble (2009), commissioned with funding from Creative New Zealand.

Lines, Dots & Squiggles performed by Ethos (2005), commissioned with funding from Chamber Music New Zealand.

Finalist in the Douglas Lilburn Prize for her orchestral piece Cape Reinga (2003) - described as “delicate, otherworldly textures, tinctured with gleaming colours and bravely expressive glissandi” (NZ Herald). Cape Reinga was first performed by the NZSO, recorded by Concert FM, and later by the Fulham Symphony Orchestra.

Orchestral work Ruapehu (2002) performed by the BBC Philharmonic, conducted by James MacMillan - broadcast on BBC Radio 3.

Wrench! for Saxcess, recorded at the 1993 NZ Composing Women’s Festival was included in the SOUNZ education resource Ears Wide Open.

As well as ongoing work with Barefoot Opera, Lucy regularly plays bass, writes and arranges for:

The Flaming Galahs (cabaret group) who performed at Brighton and Edinburgh Fringe Festivals in 2015.

DOLLYman (eclectic punk jazz ensemble) - described as ”A fractious Mingus-informed punky jazz quartet offers broken themes full of menace and mischief. Compellingly odd stew of sounds.” (UK’s Time Out magazine) – who play regularly at the National Portrait Gallery, Southbank Centre and Vortex Jazz Club in London.

London Gay Men’s Chorus. Lucy’s arrangements have been performed by the LGMC across Europe, the UK and the USA. in 2017 Lucy’s arrangements were performed by the LGMC with the Chicago and New York Gay Men’s Choruses on their USA tour.

See for other news and exciting projects.

Composed (10)

Cape Reinga

for orchestra, 8m


for SATB choir and violin

Her Blue Body

for saxophone quartet


for saxophone quartet

Looking Sideways

for orchestra, 15m

Move Into Note

for flute and piano


for orchestra, 11m

voices of exile

for soprano, mezzo-soprano and alto, 7m

Women Alone

for saxophone quartet


for saxophone quartet, 4m

Performances (1)


__Orchestra Wellington__ and __New Zealand Opera__ come together at the Opera House with supremel...