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Musical World

Wendy Hiscocks

  • Composer
  • Pianist


WENDY HISCOCKS began composing in her teens and went on to study composition with Peter Sculthorpe at the University of Sydney.  Her career started with a two-year residence as composer and composition teacher at a major Perth school that resulted in the establishment of composition as an accredited subject in the West Australian school syllabus.  Since moving to London in 1988 she has received commissions, premières and broadcasts from distinguished soloists, ensembles and choirs from around the world. The British pianist Roy Howat has been a major champion of her music and has performed, broadcast and given numerous first performances of her works on the BBC, ABC, Radio France and in a wide range of recitals in countries as diverse as Japan, Switzerland, America and Australia. Other pianists who have commissioned and premièred her music include the American Scott McCarrey (Lanterns on Lake Illawarra and Trees & Lightning on November 15, 2007 in the McKay auditorium, Brigham Young University, Hawaii); the Russian Vladimir Stoupel (Garden Orb Web and Wombeyan Caves on May 5, 2006 in the Kleiner Salle of the Berlin Konzerthaus, Germany) and the young English pianist Cordelia Williams (Two Pieces for Cordelia and Tarantella).

Singers with whom she has collaborated in the creation of new scores feature the sopranos Elizabeth Connell singing Bush Christmas at a Wigmore Hall recital in December 1993 and Rachel Nicholls in Mother & Child (2001); a performance of I Look Out & See by the bass Keith Hempton in 1997 was accompanied by the composer and recorded live by the ABC. Highlights involving Wendy’s choral music include the Sydney Chamber Choir’s programming of Christmas Letter in their 2004 tour of NSW, the Adelaide Philharmonia Choir’s commission and première of Love Falls (2002) with Carolyn Lam (solo violin) and Timothy Sexton (conductor), and the Howat-Hiscocks Duo première together with Coro Infantil de Santa Joana’s of Four Portuguese Songs at the Teatro Estaleiro as part of the 2004 Fifth International Piano Festival in Aviero. Graces S.A.T.B., premiéred by Jesus College Choir, Cambridge in 1995, has also been sung by Trinity College Choir, Melbourne to accompany Wendy’s contribution to an ABC TV documentary I.O.U. Lloyd Rees that has now been screened nationally in Australia in 2008 and 2009.

In the chamber music genre, she has composed two piano trios (Vibrancy and Kumas Dziesma) for the Schubert Ensemble’s Chamber Music 2000 project, the Swiss clarinettist Thomas Friedli and his group Quatour Krommer gave the première and live broadcast on Radio Suisse Romande of the final version of Pages of Poetry for clarinet and string trio, and her String Quartet received its first performance from Quatour Terpsycordes at the 2001 Amadeus Festival, Geneva.