Becky is an Australian composer with wide-ranging interests and styles, always with lyricism at its heart. A fully represented composer at the Australian Music Centre, Becky has worked in major classical music genres for some of Australia’s top musicians and is increasingly comfortable writing for non-professional musicians. Humour is a recurrent theme she enjoys exploring in-between more serious works.
Becky, who grew up in a musical family, migrated from Minnesota to Australia in 1969 and has made her home in Adelaide. She has been active in the disability rights movement through her late husband Richard Llewellyn’s involvement and has worked for decades to make Adelaide Australia’s most accessible city. She raised two step-children, two children and now shares in the joys of several grandchildren with her current husband, Marty Cielens.
In 1991, Becky instigated the first Composing Women’s Festival in Adelaide which went on to other cities throughout the 90s and formed a new awareness of women’s talent in Australia. Her involvement is chronicled in Rosalind Appleby’s Women of Note, the rise of Australian Women Composers.
As a story-teller, she also employed her skills to critical acclaim as librettist for her chamber opera, The Portrait, a musical tribute to Stella Bowen. This was commissioned and toured in four states by Co-Opera. She has a BA Hons (Drama), studying with the legendary Wal Cherry at Flinders University Drama Centre and in composition with the equally legendary Graeme Koehne with whom she did her undergraduate and Masters of Music (Composition) study at the Elder Conservatorium of Music.
She has particularly enjoyed choral writing, including the mesmerising Whales Weep Not! for choir, marimba and percussion with the marimba maestro Ryszard Pusz. This work was enjoyed by a huge audience at Elder Hall in 2019 and takes listeners through an underwater excursion with whales. It has all the hallmarks of Becky’s empathy with a subject, turning it into a poetic meditation on voices, bells and what it is to be a mammal.
Becky has composed music in ‘the spaces between’, a familiar story for women in the arts. A voracious reader in art, culture, politics, history and indigenous issues, her musical response is informed by an eclectic view of our place in time. She is currently working on commissions for string quartet and for women’s choir.