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Edie Hill Bio

Described as “…bold…radiant, deftly crafted…” (Musical America) and “flat out beautiful” (Stereophile Magazine), Edie Hill’s music is performed all over the world. Venues have included Lincoln Center, Met Cloisters (NYC), Carnergie’s Weill Recital Hall (NYC), Musis Sacrum in Arnhem, Holland, LA County Museum of Art, Library of Congress, Minneapolis’ Walker Arts Center, St. Paul’s Schubert Club, The Cape May Festival (NJ), The Downtown Arts Festival (NYC), Berwald Hall (Stockholm Sweden), Liviu Cultural Center (Romania), Feszek Müvészklub (Budapest), St. Peter’s Basilica (Vatican City) and concert halls in Canada, Bangkok (Thailand), Dublin (Ireland), Reykjavik (Iceland), Moscow (Russia), Brazil, France, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Baltic States, New Zealand, Iceland and The United Arab Emirates.

She has been commissioned to compose for solo voice to choir, solo instrumental to orchestral and mass band, miniature to full evening drama. Among soloists and ensembles performing/commissioning her works have been pianist Ann DuHamel, pianist Susan Billmeyer, flutist Linda Chatterton, flutist Susan Rotholz, guitarist Kenneth Meyer, organist Dean Billmeyer, Minneapolis Guitar Quartet, Tantalus Guitar Quartet, Sherman Chamber Ensemble, fivebyfive, Zeitgeist, soprano Regina Stroncek and pianist Taylor Burkhardt, soprano Carolyn Campfield with pianist Ruth Palmer, mezzo soprano Erin Wagner and pianist Shawn Chang, mezzo soprano Emily Jawarski Korierth and pianist Tad Korierth, mezzo soprano KrisAnn Weis and pianist Ruth Palmer, mezzo soprano Clara Osowski and mezzo soprano Adrianna Zabala, baritone Andrew Garland and pianist Kelly Kuo, members of the Minnersota Orchestra, The Amarillo Symphony Orchestra, the Charleston Symphony, The Crossing, Cantus, The Leonids and Chor Leoni, Conspirare, The Singers Minnesota Choral Artists, Dale Warland Singers, The Polyphnists, The Concordia Choir, Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, Netherlands Kamerkoor, and The Uncommon Music Festival in Sitka, Alaska.

Mentorship has been integral to her life as a composer. She served as Composer in Residence at St. Paul’s Schubert Club from 2005-2017 where she ran and grew the Mentorship Program for gifted high school composers. Hill has also been Composer Mentor for MN Varsity, a program for composers 14-18 years of age co-sponsored by the American Composers Forum and Classical Minnesota Public Radio. She has lectured at colleges, universities and various institutions in the States and abroad.

A three-time McKnight Artist Fellow and a two-time Bush Artist Fellow, Hill has received grants from the Jerome Foundation, ASCAP, New Music USA, Meet The Composer, the Minnesota State Arts Board, Chamber Music America, and was awarded a Doctor of Humane Letters from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota. Spectral Spirits, featured on the album BORN: the music of Edie Hill and Michael Gilbertson by The Crossing, Donald Nally, conductor, won the 2023 GRAMMY for Best Choral Performance.

After earning a B.A. from Bennington College in Vermont under the tutelage of Vivian Fine, Hill moved from her native New York to Minneapolis where she earned her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees at the University of Minnesota with principal composition teacher, Lloyd Ultan. She has also studied extensively with Libby Larsen.

Composing is a life-long love. Writing music is always an opportunity to research, learn, muse, reach down deep, and allow inspiration to come from the stuff of life. Her music is fueled by her passions and curiosities. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota where she free-lances and runs Hummingbird Press through which all of her works are available for perusal and sale.

View Full Biography

From solo to orchestra, epigram to epic, Edie Hill’s music unfolds seamlessly in all spaces and idioms. A widely acclaimed composer, Hill’s music has been performed around the world in such diverse venues as Lincoln Center, the LA County Museum of Art, the Library of Congress, Minneapolis’ Walker Arts Center, St. Paul’s The Schubert Club, The Cape May Festival (NJ), The Downtown Arts Festival (NYC), Liviu Cultural Center (Romania), Feszek Müvészklub (Budapest), as well as venues in Bangkok (Thailand), Dublin (Ireland), Iceland, Great Britain, Germany, The Netherlands, the Minnesota State Fair, classrooms and cafes, and basilicas and back yards.

Hill’s career as a professional composer of instrumental music began with a commission from flutist Susan Rotholz and cellist Eliot T. Bailen of the budding Sherman Chamber Ensemble (1985). It was the group’s first concert and Hill’s first commission. Land Meeting Sky for flute and cello has since been performed throughout the U.S. and was most recently performed by the Taos Chamber Music Group in Taos, New Mexico – the state and landscape that inspired the piece. After “cutting her chamber music teeth” with the Sherman Chamber Ensemble, and gaining her “orchestral chops” with High Plains Revelry – a fanfare commissioned for the Amarillo Symphony Orchestra – her instrumental music has been commissioned/performed by groups including New Jersey’s Cape May Festival Orchestra, the Intergalactic Contemporary Ensemble, members of the The Charleston Symphony and the Lexington (KY) Philharmonic, the Mixed Flock Orchestra Project, the Minneapolis Guitar Quartet, the Tantalus Guitar Quartet, the Taos New Music Group, and Zeitgeist. Commissioning soloists include flutists Linda Chatterton, Susan Rotholz, keyboardists Susan Billmeyer, Dean Billmeyer, and Stephen Self; guitarists Kenneth Meyer and Joseph Hagedorn; cellists Eliot T. Bailen and Thomas Rutishauser; clarinetist Andrew Lamy; and percussionist Heather Barringer.

Her choral career took off in 1996 when she won the Dale Warland Singers Choral Ventures Program commission with Poem for 2084 (text by Joan Wolf Prefontaine). Since then, her choral music has been widely performed by renowned ensembles such as Cantus, the Rose Ensemble, VocalEssence, The Singers: Minnesota Choral Artists, Valborg Ensemble (The Netherlands), and Harmonium Choral Society, The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, Nederlands Kamerkooras well as by many collegiate choirs throughout North America. Her imaginative text choices – which include excerpts from Ailm Travler’s Run-Off (Splash! Leap!), and excerpts from Newton’s Opticks with words of Monet (An Illuminated Transience) – and her “masterful facility for setting words and exploiting the richness of texts keeps her in demand as a choral composer.”

In 2006, Hill’s love of chamber music and vocal music came together with the commissioning of A Sound Like This which can be heard on the Cantus album While You Are Alive. Working from a broad color palate to create atmosphere, motion, and drive within the confines of strong structure, she creates a signature “sustained intensity” and sense of urgency. Hill beckons, dares – almost demands – that the audience “listen!” Her most recent recording project is her CD, Clay Jug. Hill worked with PARMA Recordings and The Crossing directed by Donald Nally to create and album of her choral work spanning 15 years time. The album will be released on February 10, 2017.

It is vital for Hill that she actively cultivate the talents of young composers and musicians as well as educate and engage the public in the music of today. She served as Composer in Residence at St. Paul’s Schubert Club from 2005-2017 where she ran and grew the Mentorship Program for gifted high school composers She has been a guest lecturer at such institutions as Syracuse Univeristy, Tufts University, Normandale Community College, Rock Valley Community College, the American Composers Forum, the Iowa Composers Forum Nuts N’ Bolts Festival, the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, and Delft University of Technology and Conservatory at Arnhem The Netherlands.

A three-time McKnight Artist Fellow and a two-time Bush Artist Fellow, Hill has received grants and awards from the Jerome Foundation, the Minnesota State Arts Board, Meet The Composer, ASCAP, and Chamber Music America. Commissions come from such diverse sources as elite professionals to community and amateur groups. One of Hill’s strengths as a composer is the ability to write well for musicians of all skill levels. Whether she is composing a virtuosic piece to show off a soloist’s expertise or a work that leads a choir of untrained voices through a gratifying and meaningful musical experience, for Hill the music comes from the same place. Writing music is always an opportunity for her to research, learn, muse, reach down deep, and allow inspiration to come from the stuff of life.

Distinguished by the Star Tribune as a local star, Hill’s music has been broadcast internationally. She has been the subject of Matt Peiken’s 3 Minute Egg and Richard Zarou’s No Extra Notes. She has been profiled on WNYC in New York, Minnesota Public Radio, KCSC’s “The Composer Next Door,” “Alive and Well” with Anthony Cheung in Boston, and featured on Michigan Public Radio with host Foley Schuller and on NPR’s All Things Considered with the Harmonium Choral Society.

Hill earned a B.A. in music composition and piano performance at Bennington College where she studied with Vivian Fine, and then went on to earn her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Minnesota with principle composition teacher Lloyd Ultan. She has also studied extensively with Libby Larsen.

Her home, studio, and publishing business – Hummingbird Press – are based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Edie Hill - photo credit: Leslie Crane Photography

photo credit: Leslie Crane Photography

All of Edie Hill’s photos are available for download for use in promotional, press, and social media. Use the check box to select your images and the download button below.  To view a full size photo, click on the image thumbnail. Please credit Leslie Crane Photography in all uses.

 

Grants, Awards and Affiliations

Grants and Awards

 

2023 Born: music of Edie Hill and Michael Gilbertson, recorded by The Crossing (Donald Nally, conductor), released by Navona Records, and featuring the premiere recording of “Spectral Spirits” wins the 2023 GRAMMY for Best Choral Performance
2022 Doctor of Humane Letters, honorary degree awarded by Concordia College, Moorhead, Minnesota
2010 Meet the Composer Fund Award for performances by the Taos Chamber Music Group
2008 Minnesota State Arts Board, Artists Initiative Grant
2007 Bush Artist Fellowship, Bush Foundation
2006 American Composers Forum McKnight Composer Fellowship
2006 American Composers Forum Subito Grant
2006 American Composers Forum Jerome Composers Commissioning Program commissioned by Heather Berringer, for solo percussion
2005-06 Chamber Music America Commissioning Grant, in conjunction with Cantus
2002-03 Composer of the Year Nominee by the Minnesota Music Academy
2002 Meet The Composer Fund Award for presentations at Sherman Chamber Ensemble premieres
2002 Meet the Composer Fund Award for presentation at premiere of Butterfly Effect
2001 American Composers Forum McKnight Composer Fellowship
2001 Jerome Foundation Grant for Intergalactic Contemporary Ensemble Residency and debut CD
2001 Minnesota State Arts Board Fellowship
2001 Minnesota Music Academy Composer of the Year Award Nominee
2000 Minnesota Music Academy Composer of the Year Award Nominee
1999-00 Jerome Foundation Grant for Rose Ensemble Residency (The Schubert Club, fiscal agent)
1999 Composer’s Commissioning Project Grant
1999 Bush Artist Fellowship, Bush Foundation
1999 Meet the Composer Award for the premiere of Invocation
1999 Margaret Fairbank Jory Award (American Music Center)
1998 Jerome Foundation Grant for the development of three new works (The Schubert Club, fiscal agent)
1997 Minnesota State Arts Board Career Opportunity Grant
1996 Winner of the Dale Warland Singers New Music Reading Program
1996 American Composers Forum McKnight Foundation Composer Fellowship
1996 Jerome Foundation Commission for the Dale Warland Singers New Choral Music Reading Program
1995 Meet the Composer Award for the premiere of Apparent Solids
1994 Tuition Scholarship, University of Minnesota for work on Doctoral dissertation
1994 Renee B. Fisher Foundation Composer Award
1994 Travel Assistance Award, University of Minnesota Travel Fund
1992 Meet the Composer Award for participation in The Angels, New York City
1990-present Standard Award recipient from ASCAP
Appointments

 

2023-present -Member of the Recording Academy/GRAMMY’s class of 2023.
2023-2024 -Mentor through GRAMMY U Mentorship Program
2021 -Guest Artist at University of Minnesota, Morris discussing Spectral Spirits with Professor Athena Kildegaard’s “The Environmental Imagination” students.
2020 -Guest Composer at Northwestern University, session with Donald Nally’s choral music students on the topic of her music.
2018-
2019
&
2019-
2020

 

-Composer Mentor, Minnesota Varsity – American Composers Forum and Minnesota Public Radio.

2018 -Composer-in-Residence at Friends School of Minnesota, working with Kindergarten-8th Graders to compose a new school song.
2005 – 2017 -Composer-in-Residence, Schubert Club, St. Paul Minnesota
2010 -Composer-in-Residence, Taos Chamber Music Group, June 2010
  -Normandale Community College – Master Class, April 21, 2010
2008 -Composer-in-Residence, Taos Chamber Music Group, Fall 2008
2005-2006 -Guest Composer, Orono H.S. Bands, Orono, MN
2004 -Composer in Residence at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva, NY (4/24-4/29)
  -Presenter, pre-concert talk, Ensemble of the North, Strings and Singers: History of the Mass
  -Guest speaker — Girl Scouts of Minneapolis (April)
2002 -Guest Presenter at Elder Learning Institute, University of Minnesota
  -Young People’s Presentation and Concert, in association with premiere of Sherman: Scenes and Celebrations
2001-2003 -Composer-in-Residence, ICE
2000 -Composition Workshop, Forest Hills Elementary School, Eden Prairie, MN, 3rd Grade Class
  -Minnesota Orchestra Adopt-A-School Program: spoke about music composition with 5th grade class at Holland Elementary (3 visits)
  -Two volunteer school visits through Community Resource Pool Program
  -Composer/Performer Workshop with young musicians at Musicapolis (administered by the Schubert Club), St. Paul, MN
1999-2000 -Composer in Residence with the Rose Ensemble, Minneapolis, MN
1999 -Young People’s Workshop, “Painting with Sound,” Sherman, CT
1998-2000 -Composition Teacher, Musicopolis (music education program administered by the Schubert Club), St. Paul, MN
1998 -Guest at Friends School, held composition workshop associated with Dale Warland Singers choral premiere, St. Paul, MN
  -Guest at Longfellow Elementary School, held composition workshop associated with Dale Warland Singers choral premiere, Minneapolis, MN
1997 -Guest Speaker at the Arts High School with cellist, Thomas Rutishauser, Golden Valley, MN
  -Composer in Residence at O.H. Anderson Elementary School Authors and Artists Fair, Mahtomedi, MN
1996 -Composer in residence at Tufts University Celebration of Women in Music, Medford, MA
  -Guest speaker at Young Children’s Music Program, Ramsey County, MN
1995 -Participated in Composition Workshop for children associated with the premiere of Apparent Solids, Sherman, CT
1994 -Judge for the Performers of Connecticut Piano Competition, Westport, CT
  -Judge for MMTA Composition Competition
1990-present -Composition Teacher (private instruction)
1989 -Residency at the Ives Center for American Music, Danbury, CT
1987 -Guest Speaker at MacPhail Center for the Arts Young People’s Chamber Music Club
Affiliations
  • Owner, Hummingbird Press
  • American Composers Forum
  • ASCAP (American Society of Authors, Composers, and Publishers)
  • Chamber Music America
  • Chorus America
  • Music Publishers Association of the United States
  • New Music USA (formerly Meet the Composer and American Music Center)
  • 2012-2019 Secretary, Board of Directors; Independent Music Publishers Cooperative
  • 2000-2004 Education Committee Member, American Composers Forum
  • 2000-2002 Board Member, Dare To Breathe, Chair, Resources and Development Committe
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“We love to sing We Bloomed In Spring because of Edie’s command of – no, her accord with – rhetoric; how conversations shift, how our inner dialogue has its own story. Her music makes rhetorical detours that feel exactly like what our brains do: we lunge forward with urgency…then stop and rethink, tempered.”

Full Rising w/The Crossing write-up

About Rising w/The Crossing

– Donald Nally, conductor of The Crossing

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