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Research Colloquium: Thomas Hyde (University of Oxford)
March 9 @ 5:15 pm - 7:00 pmFree
Thomas Hyde (University of Oxford). Symphonist under the Sign of Tippett: Or ‘The Further Adventures of a Composer as Biografiend’.
If ‘referred pain’ is pain perceived at a location other than the actual site of the painful stimulus, then this paper might best be thought of as ‘referred research’: doing one kind of research when in fact engaged with another. Whilst writing the biography of a composer (William Mathias, 1934-92) I have discovered I painted a portrait of myself, using Mathias’s life and music as a cover of exploring and articulating my own ideas about composer identities, biographical tropes and the ways composers might write about other composers. Is my identity as composer different from my identity as biographer? And if so, why do we both seem to get on so well together? Exploring Mathias’s First Symphony (1965) and the extreme critical reception of the work at its London premiere in 1969, this paper focuses on ways of reading the seemingly obvious – some said blatant – influence of Tippett on Mathias’s ‘symphony in C’. While researching my biography, why did I start composing my own symphony which kept landing on a very Tippettian pounding C bass line? What kinds of conversations are going on between myself, my biographical subject, and his (and my) hero?
Thomas Hyde is a composer described by Opera Magazine as ‘clearly his own man on his own turf’ whose works are increasingly performed in Britain and abroad. His largest work to date is the one-man opera, That Man Stephen Ward, premiered to great acclaim in 2008 and revived by Nova Music Opera at the Cheltenham Festival in 2015. A commercial recording, featuring Damian Thantrey in the title role, was issued by Resonus Classics in autumn 2017 and described by one reviewer as, ‘the most impressive and genuinely exciting work by a young British composer I have heard in years. It is, I have no hesitation in declaring, a genuinely original masterpiece …’ Other notable works have included a string quartet (2009-10) a violin sonata for Jennifer Pike (2012) and a piano trio (2016). Recent compositions have included two orchestral works, a Symphony premiered by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in Glasgow in March 2018, and a comedy overture inspired by Les Dawson for the BBC National Orchestra of Wales premiered at the 2018 Lichfield Festival, as well as a setting of the Magnificat for The Sixteen, commissioned by Concertgebouw Bruges.
Born in London, Thomas Hyde studied at Oxford University and the Royal Academy of Music where his teachers included Robert Saxton, Simon Bainbridge and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. He was Manson Junior Fellow at the Royal Academy of Music (2001-2) and in 2017 was elected an Associate of the RAM. He has supported his compositional work with various part-time teaching posts. He has taught at City University London and is currently on the staff of the music department at King’s College, London. In June 2019 he was elected to a Senior Research Fellowship at Worcester College, Oxford where he has also taught for a number of years.
As well as his composing and teaching commitments, Thomas Hyde is chair of the Lucille Graham Trust, a charity that supports music education work in London, and a member of the Little Missenden Festival committee and Presteigne Festival Advisory Group. As a writer he has recently completed a biography of the Welsh composer William Mathias and his study of David Matthews was published by Plumbago Books in 2014.
About the series:
The Colloquia feature leading figures, as well as younger scholars, from across the world. They present their research in papers on all kinds of music-related topics. Graduate students Ella Marshall-Shepherd and Dylan Price organise the series. Presentations are followed by a discussion and virtual drinks reception. Free and open to all Music Faculty students and members. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up for the colloquium.