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William Hawley

American composer William Hawley's music has been heard in New York, London, Paris, Tokyo, Berlin, Cologne, Salzburg, Darmstadt, Munich, the Netherlands, Singapore, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Minneapolis, and other cities in the Americas, Europe, and Asia. A longtime Manhattanite, he now makes his home on the coast of Maine with his wife, Jyoti.

William Palmer Hawley was born in 1950 in Bronxville, New York into the family of an English professor and poet. He was drawn early to the arts, and, following the path of music, found his métier as a composer during his student years at the Ithaca College School of Music and the California Institute of the Arts (BFA, 1974; MFA, 1976). Although his teachers and mentors were mainly of the avant-garde (Alan Chaplin, Morton Subotnick, Ingram Marshall, Harold Budd, James Tenney, Earle Brown, Miriam Gideon, Morton Feldman), upon entering the professional world he felt compelled to reconsider the fundamental cultural rôle of music composition, with a view towards reintegrating the emotional and spiritual elements of pre-20th Century Western classical music with the technical and conceptual acquisitions of Modernism, as well as the then newly rediscovered influences of Indian and East Asian classical forms. Beginning his creative life primarily as an instrumental composer, he gradually found his work assuming a deeper expression in the realm of vocal music, unaccompanied as well as with instruments in chamber and orchestral combinations, which, through the illustration and illumination of poetry in sound, has through the ages borne the ability to elevate and enlighten the human mind and spirit.


Current and recent projects include the publication of his Nocturne for Soprano Solo, Mixed Chorus, and Orchestra; his St. Matthew Passion, Part I for Soloists, Choir, Chorus, and Orchestra with Organ; new songs and vocal ensembles setting the poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay, Robert Herrick, Christina Rossetti, Thomas Carew, and Emily Dickinson; a setting of John Keats's Ode on a Grecian Urn, for Solo Soprano, Double Chorus, and Orchestra; solo songs and duets on poetry by P. B. Shelley, Pierre de Ronsard, and Miguel de Unamuno; "This is the Garden" for unaccompanied choir, commissioned by the SYC Ensemble Singers of Singapore and given its World Premiere by them at The John F. Kennedy Center for The Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.; completion of his St. John Passion and Ode to Psyche; the release of the CD/mp3 "Shall We Gather at the River", Choral Music of William Hawley, an American Prize finalist, recorded by Seattle's Choral Arts under Robert Bode; the World Premiere performance of his Mozart Lieder (Singer Pur, Große Aula der Universität, Salzburg, Austria, Salzburger Bachgesellschaft); the release of the Grammy Award Nominated Hyperion Records CD,"Beyond All Mortal Dreams", by The Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge, Stephen Layton, conductor, which includes his Two Motets; the North American Premiere performance of Tota Pulchra es Maria for SSA Choir and Organ, performed by The Dessoff Choirs, Christopher Shepard conducting, in the Church of St. Paul the Apostle in Manhattan; the World Premieres of O Remember, for Choir, Flute, Viola, and Harp, in all-Hawley concerts by Seattle's Choral Arts, and Life of Life, for SSA Chorus, Two Horns, and Harp), performed in Boston by the Handel and Haydn Society's Young Women's Chorus, Lisa Graham, conductor; performances of Alleluia, Dies Sanctificatus (SATB, Harp), performed by Cerddorion in Manhattan's St. Ignatius of Antioch Episcopal Church, James John, conductor; Canción al Sueño (an a cappella setting of verse by the 16th Century Sevillian poet Fernando de Herrera) commissioned by Coro Hodeiertz of Tolosa, Spain; Mass ("Our Lady of Loretto"), for Choir and Orchestra, commissioned by the South Bend Chamber Singers, Nancy Menk, Founding Music Director; Three American Folk Hymns, for Choir and String Orchestra, commissioned by the Vocal Arts Ensemble of Cincinnati conducted by Earl Rivers; his Requiem, commissioned by San Francisco's St. Dominic's Catholic Church and premiered by the St. Dominic's Choir, Orchestra, and Organ, Conducted by Simon Berry; the double World Premiere of "Spring", a joint commission by The Ames Chamber Artists and The White Heron Chorale; the World Premiere Recordings of Alma Redemptoris Mater and Regina Caeli (Saint Mary's College Women's Choir); Der Abend und Abschied (Schiller settings) and Drei Momente (Rilke), performed by the German vocal ensemble Singer Pur on their European tour, and at the Ludwigsburger Schlossfestspiele as part of the summer's Schillerjahr celebrations; Flos ut Rosa Floruit, premiered at the Florilège Vocal de Tours by the University of Utah Singers, Brady R. Allred, conductor (winning the prize for a First Production Work); Tre Rime di Tasso, commissioned and premiered by Chanticleer in San Francisco and in the Temple of Dendur in New York's Metropolitan Museum, as well as on European tour; A Song for St. Cecilia's Day, given its Royal Academy premiere in London by the New London Singers, Ivor Setterfield, conductor; his Miserere, commissioned and given its World Premiere by the Alexandria Choral Society in the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater, Washington DC; Four Reveries, commissioned, premiered, and performed on tour in Europe by the Vocal Arts Ensemble of Cincinnati, Earl Rivers, director, with further performances by VocalEssence, Philip Brunelle, conductor, in Minneapolis, as well as its Seattle Premiere by The Esoterics; Ave Regina Cælorum and Salve Regina, commissioned and premiered by the Saint Mary's College Women's Choir, Nancy Menk, conductor; a new Magnificat for SSAA Choir and Brass Ensemble commissioned by the Wellesley College Choir, with premiere performance conducted by Lisa Graham at Christmas Vespers in Wellesley's Houghton Chapel; and Seattle, a setting of Chief Seattle's 1854 Treaty Oration, for four vocal soloists, women's choir, chorus, and orchestra, premiered in Seattle's Benaroya Hall by the Seattle Choral Company, Fred Coleman, conductor.

Further recordings and publications: Premiere Recordings of his setting of Beautiful River, by Choral Arts;
Two Motets, by Volti; The Cloths of Heaven by The University of Utah Singers, his In dulci jubilo, by the German vocal ensemble Singer Pur, and his Requiem, by San Francisco's St. Dominic's Church Choir and Orchestra conducted by Simon Berry; his hymn settings Beautiful River and Not One Sparrow is Forgotten on The Dale Warland Singers' CD Harvest Home; the Premiere Recording of Four Reveries by Seattle's The Esoterics on their CD IMMAGINOSA; the San Francisco Choral Artists' recording of the madrigal Vita de la mia vita (on the CD Music Among Friends); Salve Regina, published by earthsongs, and recorded by the Saint Mary's College Womens Choir on their CD Anima mea!, Nancy Menk, conductor; Fuggi, fuggi, dolor from his Tre Rime di Tasso in Chanticleer's Silver Jubilee Anthology of Choral Music (Hinshaw edition), recorded along with Labbra vermiglie e belle by Chanticleer on their 2004 Grammy Award-nominated CD, Our American Journey (Teldec Classics); Boosey & Hawkes's publication of his O Maria Maris Stella; the release of the Premiere Recording of the complete set of his Six Madrigals, by the Woodley Ensemble, Frank Albinder conducting (Arsis CD, Love Songs); the Premiere Recordings of Celia and In Paradisum on the South Bend Chamber Singers' CD, Millennium (Pro Organo), both scores published by earthsongs; and two Dickinson settings included on soprano Joyce Andrews's CD, Emily Dickinson Songs (Capstone).



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