Anne Boyd was born in Sydney in 1946. She entered the Department of Music at the University of Sydney in 1963 where her principal composition teacher was Peter Sculthorpe. In 1969 she was awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship enabling her to undertake studies in composition for a DPhil at the University of York where her supervisors were Wilfrid Mellers and Bernard Rands. In 1972 she was appointed Lecturer in Music at the University of Sussex, a post she held for five years before returning to Australia to compose full-time. In 1981 she was appointed Reader and founding Head of the Department of Music at the University of Hong Kong. In 1990 she was appointed Professor and Head of Department of Music at the University of Sydney.
Her music is regularly performed worldwide. The hallmarks of her musical style are its transparency, gentleness and delicacy, attributes which reflect her long involvement with Asian traditions, especially those of Japan and Indonesia.