Wendy Hiscocks, Hovea Music Press composer
Wendy Hiscocks' music is imbued with her love of dance and a natural melodic sense. Although tonally based, her music uses many different scales and modes, savouring the colour and character of the twelve notes of the octave and their varied combinations. For her, music is to the ears as light to the eyes, and her most recent works explore sound in the same way as many of her favourite painters (from Turner to Lloyd Rees) explore colour and light.
Born in Wollongong, New South Wales, in 1963, Wendy Hiscocks began playing the piano at an early age. She started to write music while a teenager, and went on to study composition with Peter Sculthorpe and Eric Gross at the University of Sydney. Hiscocks graduated with a Bachelor of Music from the University of Sydney in 1984. She spent the three years following her graduation working in Western Australia, including a period as Composer-in-Residence at Methodist Ladies College in Perth in 1986-87. Her creative projects with school children during this period helped to establish composition as an accredited subject in the Western Australian school syllabus. Hiscocks was also a visiting artist-in-residence at the University of New England (NSW), in 1993 and 1995. She was a member of the faculty of the 1998 Dartington International Summer School.
Since she moved to London in 1987, Hiscocks has had her works widely performed and broadcast. Her music has been heard at London's South Bank and Wigmore Hall, and at major festivals in the UK and elsewhere. Her works have also been broadcast on both ABC and BBC radio networks. She has been awarded commissioning grants from the Arts Council of England and the Australia Council. Premières of her music have been given by sopranos Elizabeth Connell and Naomi Itami, bass Keith Hempton, cellist Matthias Feile, violinist Anna McDonald, pianists Roy Howat and (8-year-old) Cordelia Williams, the chamber groups Triangulus and English Serenata, and the Choir of Jesus College, Cambridge. The first piece of her children's piano collection Light is on the Grade 1 syllabus of the Fédération française des Ecoles de Musique.
Several of Hiscocks' works feature in the ABC's CD archive of Australian music. Her Toccata is recorded by Yvonne Lau on a CD of Australian piano music published by the Fellowship of Australian Composers, and by Sally Mays on disc 3 of the Canberra School of Music's Anthology of Australian Music. The Piper at the Gates of Dawn has been recorded by Jeanell Carrigan on the disc Australian Post-1970 Solo Piano Works published by Vox Australis.
Her appearances as a pianist have included London's South Bank, festivals and radio broadcasts in the UK, France and Australia. With her husband, pianist Roy Howat, she has made a CD of Chabrier piano music for the French label STIL.
Wendy is an Associate Composer with the Australian Music Centre.
© Creativity & Music 1998
The composer biography and the programme note may be used
with copyright acknowledgement in printed programmes.
Toccata: sample of the score | programme note
Wendy's music: full catalogue
For other links for Wendy Hiscocks see the HMP Links Page, including her CDs.