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Lucy Mulgan


Born: 1971 Website  


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, and as a community music workshop leader Lucy helps people explore their own voices through singing, composition and storytelling.

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, NZ Opera, Orchestra Wellington, BBC Philharmonic (UK) , 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:

Wakatipu Music Festival - Lucy has been commissioned by SOUNZ and the Festival to compose a new piece for community groups, young musicians and professional players involved in the Festival. Performance Easter 2022.

Red! - Lucy’s opera for children, originally commissioned by Barefoot Opera UK and performed in the UK in 2020. Further commissioned by Orchestra Wellington, it was performed in August 2021 at the Michael Fowler Centre by 350 local Wellington primary school children with NZ Opera & Orchestra Wellington featuring 3 professional singers and a 20-piece orchestra. Future performances planned for 2022 / 2023 across NZ and the UK… “Opera like this is clearly for everyone” - Elizabeth Kerr.

Pygmailion - a reworking of Rameau’s one-act opera for The Weaver Dance Company (UK). Upcoming performance at Valletta Baroque Festival, Malta - January 2022.

Barefoot Opera, UK - Lucy has been working with Barefoot Opera for several years as an outreach workshop leader running improvisation and composition projects 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.

Europe’s Last Dictator (2012) Composed and produced the soundtrack for this feature-length film. Narrated by Joanna Lumley - Winner 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.

Cape Reinga (2003) Finalist in the Douglas Lilburn Prize - “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 (UK).

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

Wrench! (1993) performed by 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:

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 since 2007. in 2017 Lucy’s arrangements were performed by the LGMC with the Chicago and New York Gay Men’s Choruses on their USA tour.

Military Wives Choirs. Lucy’s arrangements for their core repertoire 2021 are being sung by 70+ choirs around the world.

Composed (11)

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


a children's opera, 50m


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...