Born in South West Lancashire and trained in Liverpool, taking composition lessons from the St Helen’s based composer David Forshaw but also studying ‘light’ music and jazz, Hilary has worked as an instrumental tutor, accompanist and occasional performer, in an around Merseyside.
She has written and arranged much music for her pupils and has been fortunate to have some of it published and subsequently set for grade exams. In schools she has also directed string ensembles, an orchestra, a percussion ensemble and accompanied choirs.
Over the years local ensembles, including orchestras, choirs, chamber groups and of course the Cathedral Orchestra, have performed some of her compositions and arrangements.
Last year, 2018, she had a piece for choir and brass quintet performed by the New Cambridge Singers, in Cambridge, as it was runner up in a competition they’d run the year before.
Other than music she enjoys researching her family’s history, photography and poetry.
“ON A STRANGE BEACH” a rhapsody for Cello & Orchestra to be performed in the concert "The Lark Ascending" on 6 July 2019
This rhapsodic, or fragmentary piece, has the cello ‘apart’ from the orchestra, in a sort of nightmare land of not being able to fit in. It begins with an orchestral ‘scream’ from which the cello is left literally high and dry. It descends quietly as the orchestra create a music of very high sounds, string harmonics and high woodwind. The cello plays uneasily with this in its lowest register. Eventually this leads to a little waltz, which goes nowhere with its quirky harmonies and it fades out leaving the cello once again high and dry. The cello then has a recit type section leading to another waltz, a little longer this time, the tune, starting tentatively on flutes. It is played by pairs of woodwind instruments as the cello accompanies with either guitar-like chords or counter melodies. When it’s over the cello tries to play this tune but fails and picks up the tempo in another recit-like section which leads into a ‘desperate’ waltz, growing in instruments creating a whirlwind of sound and quoting from the previous two waltzes. This can’t be sustained and eventually it shatters/explodes with the piece’s opening scream. There is then a shortened repeat of the high sounding section and the piece ends quietly.
I’d like to give thanks to the Cathedral Concerts Society for asking for this piece and for giving it a second airing, but an enormous thanks to Mary Bowell for her time in collaboration, help and hard work in this piece.