Janet Beat composes for conventional instruments (solo, chamber, orchestral), electronic music for tape alone and also for acoustic instruments with tape or computer. She has written for concert hall, theatre and film and has been featured composer at festivals in Germany, Greece, Portugal, Switzerland and Australia. Janet has also performed in North & South America, Poland and Japan.


What drew you to a career in music?

I knew as a very small child that I had to be a composer as my response to experiences was for  my mind to fill with music. I called it “having a concert in my head”.

How would you describe your work?

My work has been experimental in its time: musique, use of quarter tones, graphic scores work with signal generators all in the 1950s & 60s. In the 1970s I bought by 1st synthezier & built up a big electronic studio. I introduced all these techniques to my students at Worcester College of Education. I brought my studio to Glasgow in 1972 & established electronic & recording studios for the RSAMD (now the RCS).

What positive and negative aspects have you found lockdown has had on your work?

Lockdown has caused cancellations of performances in the UK & Germany but I’ve been writing short new pieces which could be used on zoom: 5 Snapshots for oboe & bassoon (each movement 60secs long) & 2 settings of Sappho for soprano & piano yet to be finished.


Janet pioneered UK electronic music, and you can find out more about this and her musical life in this in-depth interview for the British Music Collection with Caro C: 

Read the article

Listen to Janet’s music: 


Some of Janet’s music is available to buy via her publisher Furore Verlag

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Browse Janet’s work available to buy via the SMC shop. 

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