Hildegard Westerkamp was born in Osnabrück, Germany in 1946 and emigrated to Canada in 1968. After completing her music studies in the early seventies Westerkamp joined the World Soundscape Project under the direction of Canadian composer R. Murray Schafer at Simon Fraser University (SFU) in Vancouver. She is a founding member and is currently active on the board of the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology (WFAE). Between 1991 and 1995 she was the editor of The Soundscape Newsletter and is now on the editorial committee of Soundscape -The Journal of Acoustic Ecology, a new publication of the WFAE.
By focusing the ears’ attention to details both familiar and foreign in the acoustic environment, Westerkamp draws attention to the inner, hidden spaces of the environment we inhabit. The majority of her compositional output deals with aspects of the acoustic environment: with urban, rural or wilderness soundscapes, with the voices of children, men and women, with noise or silence, music and media sounds, or with the sounds of different cultures, and so on. She has composed film soundtracks, sound documents for radio and has produced and hosted radio programs.
Her compositions have been performed and broadcast in many parts of the world. In 1998, she co-created Nada, an installation about listening at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts Janpath, in collaboration of Savinder Anand, Mona Madan, and Veena Sharma. Leading up to this, she conducted soundscape workshops at Max Mueller Bhavan in New Delhi in 1992, 1994 and 1997.