ALFRED HILL'S MUSIC

Hill's music has been widely performed, mostly in Australia and New Zealand, but also in Europe and America. Neville Cardus rightly described him as "The grand old man of Australian music." A special interest in the music of the Maoris resulted in the collection of many of their folk melodies, some of which were incorporated into his works. He also made settings of folk music from Europe, New Guinea, and Australia.

More than two hundred of Hill's works were published previously, including many short pieces for students. Few, if any, early publications are currently available. Stiles Music Publications is now the publisher of Alfred Hill's music.

CDs of Hill's music are available from Naxos and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

A well researched account of Hill's life is in the biography, A Distant Music, the Life and Times of Alfred Hill, by John Mansfield Thomson, published by Oxford University Press in 1980.

The above photograph shows Hill composing in the studio at his home at Raglan Street, Mosman, NSW. It is estimated to have been taken in the 1930s.

Stiles Music Publications is making Alfred Hill's compositions available for study and performance. They will appeal to musicians for their wealth of melody, attractive harmony, creativity, playability, and audience appeal. While they hold a highly significant place in the musical heritage of Australia and New Zealand, they will doubtless be welcomed by musicians worldwide.

AN APPEAL

Hill's output was truly enormous. Prior to the compilation of the catalogue by Allan Stiles, an accurate number of his works was unknown as the composer had not allocated opus numbers nor kept a complete list. The thematic catalogue includes more than two thousand titles; a summary is in this website. While additional material regularly comes to light, a number of important manuscripts have not yet been located. Assistance in their discovery would be appreciated.

 

ALFRED HILL – a short chronology

1869 16th December - Birth in Melbourne, Australia.

The family migrated to Wellington, New Zealand when Alfred was very young.

1886 Hill' first publication - The Organist for voice and organ.

1887 March – Traveled to Leipzig via London.

       May – Commenced studies: theory and composition with Gustav Schreck, piano with A. Reckendorf, violin with R. Bollard and later with Hans Sitt, ensemble with Carl Reinecke, history and aesthetics with Oscar Paul, and singing.

1888-1891 Played violin in the Gewandhaus Orchestra. Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Grieg, Joachim, Reinecke, Ysaye, Busoni, Sarasate, Bruch, Clara Schumann, and Richard Strauss visited as conductors or soloists.

        Composed many works, some published in Leipzig.

1891 July – Awarded a diploma and the prestigious Helbig Prize.

        December – Returned to Wellington

1892-1897 Worked as a violinist, conductor, composer, and teacher in NZ.

1896 Performance of Hinemoa, his first work associated with the Maoris.

1897 April – Migrated to Sydney where he worked as a teacher, conductor, violinist, and composer.

        October – Married Sarah Booth.

1902 September – Returned to Wellington.

1903 August till July 1904 – Worked in Sydney.

1904 September till 1910 – Worked in Wellington.

1911 February – Migrated to Sydney.

1915 Appointed to the committee for the formation of a conservatorium in Sydney.

1916 January – Appointed Professor of Harmony and Composition at the NSW State Conservatorium of Music.

1919 Divorce from Sarah.

1921 Marriage to Mirrie Solomon.

1925 December – Visit to Wellington.

1926 February-March – Conducted performances in San Francisco and Minnesota. 

        April – Publications negotiated in New York.

        May – Hears performances of music by Schoenberg, Stravinsky, & de Falla in London.

        August – Conducted Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.

        Visited Italy.

1927 January – Worked in Sydney.

1930 March – Collected Maori music near Lake Taupo, NZ, for film He Tiki.

        May – Returned to Sydney.

        October-November – Conducted and composed in Melbourne.

1931 July – Performed in Brisbane.

        September – visit to Wellington

        December – conducted in Melbourne

1934 December – Resigned from NSW State Conservatorium.

1935 Commenced the Alfred Hill Academy of Music in Sydney.

1937 January – closure of the AH Academy.

        Commenced composing full-time.

        Presentation of the King’s Coronation Medal.

1939 January-April – in Auckland and Rotorua, NZ.

1953 Award of OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire).

1960 April – award of CMG (Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George).

        October 30th – Death in Sydney.

 

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