Gemma Peacocke is a US-based composer from New Zealand. She combines acoustic instruments and voices with electronics, and her work often has a sociopolitical focus. Her multimedia song cycle, Waves + Lines, premiered in June 2017 at Roulette Intermedium with the support of a commission from the Jerome L Green Foundation. The song cycle was adapted from Eliza Griswold’s book I Am the Beggar of the World: Landays from Contemporary Afghanistan, and was performed by Eliza Bagg and directed by Benita de Wit. Waves + Lines received its Australian premiere at the Melbourne Recital Centre in April this year. It will be released as an album in late 2018 on New Amsterdam.
Gemma’s cantata Pacific, for chamber choir, piano four-hands and electronics was premiered by the Tudor Consort at the National Cathedral in Wellington, New Zealand, in September 2017 with the support of a PADET grant. In February 2019 a new work, Colour Field, setting poems by Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh for Sean Nós singer Iarla Ó Lionáird and Mobius Percussion, will premiere at Princeton’s Lewis Center for the Arts.
As well as her concert works, Gemma often collaborates with filmmakers, choreographers, and theatre practitioners, including with Australian director Benita de Wit on Undrown’d, a play about asylum seekers held in offshore detention centers, which has been presented in two seasons in New York. Gemma has also collaborated with renowned choreographers Sylvain Émard and Ros Warby. Her work has been performed and commissioned by Third Coast Percussion, Fresh Squeezed Opera, Rubiks Ensemble, ~Nois Saxophone Quartet, Nick Photinos, the JACK Quartet, the Schiele Quartet, and Alarm Will Sound. She is co-founder of composer collective Kinds of Kings and founder of colloquium series In My Studio which focuses on new works and works in progress of female composers.
A 2018 finalist for the Beth Morrison Next Generation Project, a 2018 Eighth Blackbird Lab composition fellow, and Mizzou International Composers’ Festival composition fellow, Gemma was the Creative New Zealand Edwin Carr Scholar for 2014 and 2015 and a 2015 Bang on a Can composition fellow. She was awarded the NYU Steinhardt prize for Graduate Composition in 2016 having completed a Master of Music in Composition with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Julia Wolfe on a Walter Reinhold Scholarship. She spent the autumn of 2015 studying at the Institute for Music/Acoustic Research and Coordination (IRCAM) in Paris, and she is currently a Mark Nelson Ph.D. Fellow in composition at Princeton University.