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Born in Southport, Merseyside


I do not remember exactly when or why I became interested in music. The out-of-tune upright piano in the house which was always there passed on from some branch of the family, may have been the start. My father was always very modest about his musical accomplishments. He could, I remember, play one piece on the piano called the “Rustle of Spring” either with or without a large cloth covering covering the keyboard. (He had also, apparently played “The Swan” on the cello rolling a grapefruit on the fingerboard to achieve the portamento). The Christian Sinding party piece impressed me sufficiently to convince that the piano was more fun than the prehistoric lego consisting of only red and white oblong bricks. So, with a copy of Ezra Read’s First Piano Tutor (which had a curious system of fingering of a + to indicate the thumb and 1,2,3 and 4 for fingers 2,3,4 and 5), book 1 of the “48”, and an ingenious piece of cardboard Dad devised which was a life-sized drawing of the keyboard with all the letters and notes on the staves, which enabled me to decipher of the first prelude and fugue, I set to work. I spent many hours by myself at the old piano with the hinged brass candelabras. My parents, as far as I remember, didn’t intervene, or particuarly encourage or discourage me. Every so often my obsession was interrupted for meals.


Auditioned at a Saturday morning music school which had just opened and became on of the first five children to be accepted. I think it was a kind of pilot project, modelled on the Menuhin school but funded entirely by Lancashire Education Authority. Shortly after the family moved into the house opposite called “The Croft” (and one of the music teachers called Mr Croft rented a room for a while), and for the next five years I had lessons in piano, cello, and other group classes. The director, Victor Payne, was a remarkable and forward-thinking teacher. For musicianship classes everyone brought a composition every week, played it and discussed it. We also did free improvisation, interpreted graphic scores as well as the more conventional skills of transposition, harmonisation of a melody and figured bass. I remember hearing Bartok and Aaron Copland for the first time, hearing some musique concrète on the radio, then seeing the Gary Burton quartet on “Jazz at the Maltings” on TV. John Peel’s late night Radio 1 show was a discovery – but I was obliged to listen at an almost inaudible volume under the blankets.


Started piano lessons with Paul Crossley in London.


Joined Death Kit as keyboard player – a jazz/rock outfit with Captain Beefheart-type songs, psychedlic light show and inflatables. At the same time I continued with piano lessons with Kathleen McGrath in Liverpool, a strict teacher, and a formidable interpreter of Bach, though she encouraged my playing of Messiaen. I wrote strange semi-graphic and aleatoric scores as well as lots of music for the band with long organ/fuzzbox solos. My musical interests were never acknowledged by school music teachers who thought the discordant 20th century music I liked to play was damaging to the ears as it was not based on 19th century harmonic principles and would ruin the pianos.


Went to study music at York University. The first few weeks were taken up with preparing Berio’s agitprop music theatre piece “Il Passaggio”. I was an audience heckler and had to memorise an impeccably notated part of insults and interjections to annoy the audience. At that time York was a very different kind of music degree and was still driven by the spirit of innovation and radicalism which was all the brainchild of Prof Mellers. During the following months we did projects on experimental music, Indian Music, jazz and gamelan, and the final assessment was often a composition or performance. For Wilfrid Mellers’ project comparing Bach’s B minor Mass and Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis I remember submitting a series of Mandala-like watercolour paintings which were greeted with great enthusiasm by Wilfrid. Regular groups I played with were the orchestra (cello and later, double bass), the new music ensemble or NME (whose name changed later to Anenome), the African Drumming Ensemble, and lots of extra-curricular playing in bands. I had piano lessons with a young concert pianist from New York called Donna Stoering, and later with Denis Smalley, a fabulous organist and Messiaen specialist who is known now as a startlingly original electroacoustic composer, living in London and Fabrezan. He really encouraged me in my attempts to play Ives piano sonatas. And the art found an outlet in designing silk-screen posters for concerts, and then in my 2nd year in creating some surrealist sets for a production of Satie’s anti-ballet “Relâche”. I enjoyed the academic side as well, especially reasearching cross-art forms, and dragging many oblique references into essays. I wrote the text for a Javanese-type wayang based on the idea that King Arthur’s half-brother went to India and met up with the characters of the Mahabharata in the quest for the Holy Grail. This we performed with a gamelan made up entirely of Western orchestral instruments, imaginatively arranged by Neil Sorrell. This was the prehistory of gamelan culture in the UK.


Approaching the end of my undergraduate course I decided to follow the quest westwards and follow my former composition teacher, Bernard Rands, to U.C. San Diego, whose music department was legendary for its strangeness and high concentration of powerfully interesting artists and musicians on its faculty. People like composers Robert Erickson, Pauline Oliveros (who was my composition tutor) and Roger Reynolds, performance poets David Antin and Jackson Mac Low, the contrabass virtuoso, Bertram Turetzky. I was assisted greatly by getting a Fulbright Scholarship which was financially generous and allowed me to live without money worries for my first year. Arriving in La Jolla I stayed first of all with a Chinese biochemist and his family, through whom I met Bun-Ching Lam, who remained a close friend. Other friends and co-collaboraters included Paul Dresher, Brenda Hutchinson and Diamanda Galas all of whom were extraordinary people. As well as regular faculty members we had visiting artists periodically at the Center for Music Experiment such as Laurie Anderson and John Cage to work with the postgraduate composers. The backdrop to this vortex of creative energy was the ever-changing landscape, the cityscapes, the miles of freeways and suburbia, the Pacific ocean and in particular early mornings amid the surfers and the particular attachment to sunsets. But best of all were the deserts – expanses of scrubby unbuilt-on land (which probably no longer exist) and the real desert, the Anza Borego, beyond the fertile coastal strip and the Gold Rush towns such as Julian where we would go and sleep out after building a fire to ward off snakes. In my second year of study towards my MA I had various jobs – poster designer for the music department, gardener for an embittered Vietnam war veteran, and lecturer in Western music history to undergraduates. The first semester covered prehistory to 1945, the second semester 1946 to the present. When not in ‘school’ I spent most of my spare time in San Francisco researching and playing new music. I met John Adams who gave me a score of his newly completed post-minimalist marathon “Phrygian Gates”. I gave the European premiere of this piece in London in 1980 and it has now become something of a 20th century classic.


After a brief period in London and enrolling on the PhD programme at City University, I left for New York, dividing my time between the city, renting a room above the Ear Inn, NY’s oldest bar, on Spring Street in Soho, and upstate New York at the Creative Music Studio. This independent college in a secluded motel near Kingston, had a small intake of students each year, about 20, who studied with some of the greatest musicians of modern jazz and world music: Don Cherry, Ed Blackwell, Steve Lacy, Marion Brown, George Lewis, Barbara Benary, Ornette Coleman, Garrett List, Karl and Ingrid Berger. In the city at weekends I was researching for my PhD on free jazz pianists and studied with Borah Bergman, a pianist of amazing energy and prodigious technique which involved total independence of the hands, and a certain favouritism towards the left. I also played in No Wave bands and in duo with Marilyn Crispell.


Back in London I became one of the original members of the English Gamelan Orchestra. We rehearsed in the basement of the Indonesian embassy in Grosvenor Square, usually a whole weekend of every month. This group, comprised of composers such as Michael Parsons, Dave Smith and Jan Steele and ex-students of York University, introduced Javanese traditional music and experimental compositions for gamelan to British audiences in the 1980s. We also ran many educational workshops for schools. The group was directed by Neil Sorrell and then later by expert Javanese musicians, Sri Hastanto and Rahayu Suppangah. We played several pieces of mine written for the group. Continued at City University with my dissertation and participated in the electroacoustic music festivals. I got to use the Fairlight CMI quite a bit, the very first digital sampling synthesizer, which at that time was more expensive than a Steinway. At the same time I organised music and performance art events for the Air Gallery on Rosebery Avenue, London EC1.


Worked in a duo with singer and pianst Janet Sherbourne. We played concerts all over the UK, in Europe, and did two extensive tours of USA and Canada in 1984 and 1986 with support from the British Council as were playing all new English experimental music, including original compositions and works written for us by Howard Skempton, Michael Parsons and others. Our programmes would also include jazz, works by Cage, Hebridean folk songs, and sometimes we played older 20th century repertoire such as Poulenc, Debussy, Ravel, Gershwin and Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. The first vinyl album, entitled, “Slower than Molasses” was released that year on the Practical Music label. Than was followed by two further albums of original pieces for pianos, accordions, percussion and voice: “Walks Abroad” in 1987 and “Café Olé” in 1990, also on Practical Music. Played drums with experimental rock band “The Copy” whose members included Jan Steele (sax), Glyn Bush (guitar and vocals), Janet Sherbourne (keyboards and vocals), Pickle (guitar and xylophone) and Mark Rowson (bass). Started building gamelan instruments out of recycled sheet metal, a defunct vibraphone, wood and plastic tubing at the Midlands Arts Centre in Birmingham, and had a teaching job as head of music at St Philip’s 6th Form College.


Having finished my thesis and been ‘doctored’ by City University I started to work at Birmingham City University (then Birmingham Conservatoire) first as a gamelan teacher and visiting lecturer in ethnomusicology, then was appointed Head of World Music and Assistant Head of the School of Composition and Creative Studies in 1994. I was course director for the new degree in Indian music, BMus Raga Sangeet, which offered advanced specialist tuition in North Indian Classical music, including a period of study in India by special arrangement with the University of Bombay. This involved writing all the modules, the course documents, as well as overseeing the pastoral arrangements for the students in Bombay. I was a delegate of the working party, and contributed to publications, for the “Connect” project of the Association of European Conservatoires (2000 – 2001) which was set up to look into the challenges posed to higher education in music, especially within conservatoires, with the need to adapt to the changing multicultural nature of European society. I attended various ethnomusicology conferences and did several periods of fieldwork in Indonesia, Brazil and Cuba researching traditional music and ritual. My main project at this time was a composers’ gamelan group, Metalworks, using the instruments I built, which presented concerts of traditional contemporary music and ran many educational workshops throughout the UK. Metalworks released their first CD in 1990 “New Gamelan”, followed by “Parrot Soup’ in 1994 recorded by Kuljit Bhamra on Keda Records.


Recorded first solo album “Hollowed Ground” and the Wriggly Pig label was born, the same year as my son Ezra.


8-hour performance/installation ‘The Loop Orchestra’ using archaic Balinese instruments and live electronics took place at the IKON gallery, Birmingham.

“THE LOOP ORCHESTRA is a performance piece and installation composed specially for the IKON Gallery. In the industrialised West the presentation music tends to follow certain conventions of time, place, duration and call for certain human responses - quiet attention or noisy movement, expressions of appreciation in empty pauses, etc. But there are other societies where music isn’t ‘listened to’ in quite the same way, where it is a part of ritual and doesn’t follow these expected routines. The ‘audience’ is invited to listen, reflect, walk and sit in the galleries as THE LOOP ORCHESTRA plays continuously throughout the day from 12 noon to 8.00pm. The ‘orchestra’ is made up of an ensemble of sacred iron instruments from Bali used to invoke deities and appease earth demons in the mountain villages of Karangasem province. This ensemble is supplemented by various percussion instruments, keyboards, electonics and treated bass. The live music, played in the lower gallery, is processed using generative computer software for simultaneous relay to the upper gallery to create a continuous ambient soundscape. This is fed back to the lower gallery once more - sonic surprises to which the musicians may react. The ‘loop’ refers to this process as well as to the cyclic and slowly changing stuctures of the music reflecting the sense of the hours and the day passing.”

"Like the art that usually hangs in the IKON Gallery, one could spend as much or as little time as one wanted with the piece. Time and duration were not an issue. It was great to see a contemporary composer such as Lockett to receive the opportunity to take such a challenging and rewarding work to a wide public audience. Each evening as the performers approached the finale, the galleries were in near darkness. A few visitors had fallen asleep on the cushions listening to the soporific loops. For a short while there was a chance to dream. Maybe this is what Lockett was after."

Ben Sadler – Avant


Worked with visual/conceptual artist Graham Gussin on orchestral score for installation for the IKON Gallery. Recorded on CD: “Recompositions – Reverse Music”

Invited to present a programme of Balinese gamelan salunding in the “Semaine Steve Reich” (in the presence of the composer) at the Auditorium Maurice Ravel, Lyon. Worked with Iain Ballamy and Sarvar Sabri on the fusion project “Spirits Collide” – CBSO Centre, Birmingham


Soundtrack for installation “Terrain Vague” with Graham Gussin for the 50th Venice Biennale

“Holding Together” - commission by Youth Music for the Aston Youth Orchestra - a 40 minute work for acoustic and electric instruments, steel band and music technology, based on I Ching texts. First performed at the Adrian Boult Hall February 2006.

Released “The Loop Reorchestrated” – 4CD version of a live performance/installation created for the IKON Gallery


“For Each Record Player there is a record which it cannot play” Installation with scratched records of the 7th Symphony of Sibelius, electronics and live instruments (Cammasartes, Carcassonne)

Formed ‘Fracas de Limoux’ – a community samba school. Played at numerous fêtes and other events throughout the Aude. Also worked with Brazilian dancers and in the rugby stadium supporting the Limoux team!


Director of “Soundshifter”, a Sound It Out education and composition project bringing together young people, professional musicians and Djs to explore interaction between electric and acoustic instruments, DJ-ing and sampling technology

Participation as performer/composer in improvisation and electroacoustic music festivals in SW France: Le Son Miré, and ZieuMZic.

Assistant to legendary Indian violinist L. Subramaniam, preparing orchestrations of works for recording and performance by Brandenburg Symphony Orchestra. Conducted programme of his works for Indian violin and western orchestra at the Barbican, February 2006, with members of the London Symphony Orchestra.

Directed a course for professional musicians in the applications of harmony and other Western structural principles to Indian ‘classical’ composition


Soundtrack for DVD “Sound Booth” of short films by New York photographer Alvin Booth (Editions Galerie Vevais)

Performances with poet Valérie Schlée and painter Christian Hadengue for the festival “Lire en Fête” Languedoc-Roussillon


“Las Vegas Powercut” CD with Trevor Lines (bass) and Wilfried Chevalier (drums)


Festival Jazz Sur Lie (Nantes) Las Vegas Powercut with Steve Potts

Opening concert of the festival “Toques et Clocher” at the Musée du Piano, Limoux, Messiaen, Ravel, new works by Stanley Adler and myself.

Began “108 Doors” an on-going series of installations/performances with Zöe Redman, painter and video artist.

Spent several weeks in Bangalore writing and recording the music for “Stardust to Life” a production by the Chitraleka Dance Company, in collaboration with Praveen D. Rao


“143: Satie, I love you” – La Coopérative de l'Art et de Littérature, Montolieu. Solo 22-hour performance of Satie’s Vexations(16 – 17 May) to celebrate the composer’s 143rd birthday.

Concerts with soprano Janneke Moes (resident of Helsinki) of contemporary Finnish music. Tour in churches in the Aude June/July.

Began 6s and 7s, a series of electroacoustic sound pieces based on recordings made on the 6th and 7th day of the calendar month. 

“Film Music” CD (Wriggly Pig Records) – compilation of music composed for short independent films over the past few years.

Did the Deep Listening Retreat in Dartington with former composition teacher and mentor Pauline Oliveros. An amazing experience!


10-date tour in the Netherlands with Janneke Moes. Entitled Noorderwind the programme included contemporary Finnsh composers, piano pieces by Michael Parsons (Arctic Rag, Arctic Prelude) and my song cycle Journey to the North, based on the travel writings of Karel Capek.

Created CUBE/CUVE performance/sound installation with Garth Bowden for the Artistes à Suivre festival.

108 Doors performance with Zoë Redman and Jacob Redman at La Coopérative de l'Art et de Littérature, Montolieu.

Became resident pianist for the Château de Pennautier.

Started writing Mau Mau - the opera in collaboration with librettist Matt Hilton based on the memoirs of Frank Kitson of Africa's first modern guerrilla war.



My large Javanese gamelan Gamelan Oksitan gets some more work! Gamelan teacher-in-residence for the Albières Festival of World Music, and also for the Stage Départemental de l'Aude in Castelnaudary, where it was played by many of the young musicians who had come to study their principal instrument. I shared the responsibilities for the piano class with Elizabeth Schils, doing largely experimental and minimalist music for a multi-keyboard ensemble.

Recorded and played on Deb Swallow's trio album, Hooting of Night Owl (Wriggly Pig 008)

Participated in Serge André's spectacle Timeless at the Théâtre Municpal in Carcassonne and composed a cycle of gamelan pieces to go in between the sections, entitled Timeless Interludes.