Robert Hugill

Robert Hugill
Robert Hugill writes attractive, accessible contemporary classical music in a variety of genres. Recent performances have included sacred motets, orchestral music and a one-act opera. In 2008 the eight:fifteen vocal ensemble, conductor Paul Brough, issued a CD of Robert's music on the Divine Art label.

Born in Cleethorpes, UK in 1955, Robert Hugill is a mainly self-taught composer. In the 70’s and 80’s he was the musical director of the Church of St. Andrew and St. George, Rosyth, Scotland, musical director of London’s first Lesbian and Gay choir, The Pink Singers and acted as composer and arranger for a number of cabaret acts in London and at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

As a singer, he is currently a member of London Concord Singers and the Latin Mass Choir at St. Mary’s Church, Cadogan Street, Chelsea, London. Robert’s motets and mass settings are in use St. Mary’s Church, Chelsea (Roman Catholic), the Oxford Oratory (Roman Catholic), St. Woolos Cathedral, Newport (Anglican), All Saints Church, Margaret Street, London, St. Botolph without Bishopsgate, London and St. George's Church, Hanover Square, London (Anglican).

In 1994 Robert founded FifteenB, the choir which gave the first public performance of Robert’s cantata Vocibus Mulierum - Women’s Voices. In 1998 FifteenB was awarded a grant, by the National Lottery through the Arts Council of England, to give the first performance of Robert’s cantata The Young Man and Death - A Dialogue, for choir and wind octet. In 2000 the choir premiered Robert’s Requiem for unaccompanied choir at the Chelsea Festival. They returned to the Chelsea Festival in 2002 to give the first performance of The Barbarian at the Gate with Philharmonia Brass. The choir returned to the festival in 2004 and 2006 with programmes of liturgical music including a number of Robert’s motets.

In 1999 Robert was commissioned by the early music group, The Burgundian Cadence, to write Passion a 40 minute unaccompanied setting of the passion story from St. John’s Gospel interpolated with poems by the American poet, Carl Cook. The Burgundian Cadence performed Passion on a UK tour in 1999 and subsequently recorded the work. The recording received its first broadcast performance on Vatican Radio as part of the Jubilee celebrations in 2000. Robert's Choruses from Passion was premièred by FifteenB in 2008, and the work received its Polish premiere in 2009 when Chor Mieszany Caecilianum performed it in the Cathedral of Christ the King, Katowice.

Robert’s motet Here Be Angels was commissioned by the Crouch End Festival Chorus, musical director David Temple. The chorus gave the first performances of the motet in March 1998 and the revised version was premiered by London Concord Singers in December 2002. The Black Dragon, inspired by a science fiction story, was premiered by London Concord Singers in 2000 as part of their Millennium celebrations. In 2006 London Concord Singers premiered Robert's Ubi Carmina as part of their 40th anniversary celebrations and in December 2010 the gate the first performance of Robert's cantata The Magi based on a sermon by Lancelot Andrewes

In 1999 Robert wrote the incidental music to ‘Candle Dancing’, a play by the Pittsburgh based playwright Coni Ciongoli-Koepfinger and the music was performed in Pittsburgh as a part of the first run of the play. In November 2001 Robert’s song cycle Songs of Love and Loss received its first American performance at CMU in Pittsburgh. Robert’s opera, Garrett, based on a play by Coni Ciongoli-Koepfinger, was staged in London in June 2001. An audio book of the play CandleDancing, with Robert's music, is being issued in 2009.

A number of Robert's orchestral works have been premièred by the Salomon Orchestra. In March 2006 the orchestra, conducted by Adrian Brown with baritone David Greiner gave the first performances of Robert's Elegy for Baritone and Orchestra and the tone poem In the Barbarians Camp.

As a complement to his amateur group, Robert founded the professional choir, the eight:fifteen vocal ensemble in 2005. They gave their debut performance at St. Giles Cripplegate, premièring Robert's cantata The Testament of Dr. Cranmer. They repeated the performance in March 2006 as part of the commemorations for the 450th anniversary of Cranmer's execution at Oxford University Church. The ensemble, conducted by Paul Brough, recorded The Testament of Dr. Cranmer as part of a new disc of Robert's choral and vocal music recently released on the Divine Art Label.

In 2003 Robert was on the jury judging the liturgical category of the first British Composers Awards organised by the British Academy of Composers and Songwriters and he returned as a judge in 2004 in the choral category. Robert's songs came 2nd and 4th in the English Poetry and Song Society's Ivor Gurney competition in November 2007 and another song came 3rd in the Society's A.E. Houseman competition in February 2009.

Robert is new motet for Alistair Dixon and the Chapelle du Roi was be performed in December 2009. His 2nd volume of motets for the church's year, Tempus per Annum, was published in autumn 2008. Robert is currently working on new opera, When a Man Knows based on a play by Alan Richardson, which will be staged at the Bridewell Theatre, London in March 2011 in a production by Ian Caddy