Hilary Tann - Biography

November 2nd, 1947 - February 8th, 2023

Hilary Tann – my close friend and collaborator who has died unexpectedly aged 75 – was a prolific composer whose imaginative catalogue was shaped by her formative years in Wales, her adoptive home in America, and her cultural affinity with Japan...

Continue reading the obituary written by Dr. Rhian Davies

Welsh-born composer, Hilary Tann, lived in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains in Upstate New York where she was the John Howard Payne Professor of Music Emerita at Union College, Schenectady. Her compositions have been widely performed and recorded by ensembles such as the European Women’s Orchestra, Tenebrae, Lontano, Marsyas Trio, Thai Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, and BBC National Orchestra of Wales. Composer-residencies include the 2011 Eastman School of Music Women in Music Festival, 2013 Women Composers Festival of Hartford, and 2015 Welsh Music Center. Praised for its lyricism (“beautiful, lyrical work” – Classical Music Web) and formal balance (“In the formal balance of this music, there is great beauty ...” – Welsh Music), her music is influenced by a strong identification with the natural world. She is a published haiku poet and a deep interest in the traditional music of Japan led to private study of the shakuhachi and guest visits to Japan, Korea, and China. A recent review of her string quartet, And The Snow Did Lie, states “Tann’s music is shimmering and weightless, effective and moving ... it reinforces the grounded spiritual ecstasy that is Tann’s distinctive musical outlook” (J. Dalton, Albany Times Union, 5/24/20).