Edie Hill's 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 Donals 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. As Composer-in-Residence at St. Paul’s The Schubert Club since 2005, Hill runs the Composer Mentorship Program where she mentors four gifted high-school composers every year. 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.