Chris Hutchings is a composer based in Edinburgh, Scotland. His choral works have won several awards and had worldwide performances and broadcasts.
Free music to fight for refugees and against racism: #choirsagainstracism
Thank you to the many people who have performed my music this year! Here are some highlights from the last few months:
“Hush My Dear” was sung by at least 20 choirs in 8 different countries that I know of. There were also several Christmas performances of “Welcome Carol” and “In The Bleak Midwinter” – the latter is available on Harmonia Sacra’s new CD.
“I Was Listening To A Pogrom” was performed by Maureen Batt and her ensemble in Canada and Colombia.
Coming soon: #choirsforclimate, a sister project to #choirsagainstracism – watch this space…
“Statue Songs” for Dingwall Choral Society had a very successful premiere – you can hear the final movement on SoundCloud here – and in addition to the existing SABar version, I’m creating new versions for SAB choir (avoiding high Es or Ds for the basses) and flexible 2/3-part choir. Get in touch if your choir might be interested in performing this. Length about 25 minutes in total, secular, needs a good pianist. Hear the final movement below:
“In The Bleak Midwinter” (published by NoteNova) has just been recorded by Harmonia Sacra for their new CD “In Dulci Jubilo”, which will be launched at a concert in Bristol on 1st December – visit their website for details.
Some upcoming performances: on 2nd November there will be TWO of my pieces performed in London! Sadly I can’t make it to either concert, but hopefully some of my readers can: Farnham Youth Choir will be singing “Thou Knowest, Lord, The Secrets Of Our Hearts” in Cadogan Hall (book tickets here) – and Harlequin Chamber Choir will be singing “Where Are My Unnumbered Days?” from #choirsagainstracism in St Stephen Walbrook, as part of the Brandenburg Choral Festival (book tickets here).
My new song cycle for Dingwall Choral Society will be performed in Dingwall on 7th December. It’s a set of five songs for SABar and piano with words by local poet Bob Pegg – if you’d like a perusal copy with a view to a 2020 performance, email me. You can see a few sample pages on my Facebook page.
And there are a LOT of choirs who will be performing Hush My Dear this Christmas – in (deep breath) Liverpool, Surrey, Holmbury St Mary, Kloten (Switzerland), Brooklyn, Wales, Winterthur-Töss (also Switzerland), Norway, Cardiff, Worle, Essex, Derbyshire, the Scottish Highlands, the Scottish Borders, Michaelham and Richmond. Thanks to everyone who came to ABCD and bought copies there or afterwards!
If you’re still looking for a short carol to add to your Christmas repertoire, “Hush My Dear” (SATB no divisi) is now available from MusicSpoke – buy it here – and “Welcome Carol” (unison+piano) is available as part of #choirsagainstracism. See all my Christmas music here.
Thank you to everyone who came to the #choirsagainstracism Come and Sing event in London on 10th August! We raised nearly £400 for Refugee Action.
The National Youth Choir of Scotland Training Choir performed “God To Enfold Me” in concerts on 13th July (Stirling Castle) and 14th July (Merchiston School, Edinburgh).
Coming soon! “Statue Songs”, a song cycle for SABar choir and piano, about 20 minutes long, written for Dingwall Choral Society. This will be premiered in December 2019 but if you’d like a perusal copy with a view to a 2020 performance, email me. You can see a few sample pages on my Facebook page.
“My Father” was broadcast as part of BBC Radio 4’s Sunday Worship on 16th June 2019 (Fathers’ Day), sung by the University of Glasgow Chapel Choir under Katy Cooper. You can listen to it on BBC Sounds until mid-July (at about 21 minutes in).
The recording from the world premiere of “Where Are My Unnumbered Days?” is now available! Thank you to the Wicker Park Singers of Chicago and artistic director Mark Tomasino, who selected this piece for their call for scores and performed it on 12th and 13th April. You can hear it below:
It was also performed at the Murau International Music Festival in Austria two weeks later. The UK premiere of this piece is still available, and the score is free – please get in touch if you’d be interested in performing this.
Download my guide to choral ranges for composers – this has been popular with a lot of teachers.
Thank you to the Kammerchor Klagenfurt-Worthersee, conductor Günter Wallner and all at Murau International Music Festival for a wonderful three days in Murau, and the European premiere of “Where Are My Unnumbered Days?” on 26th and 27th April! Ashley and I were very lucky to be able to attend (not least because my parents were able to watch our two young children for a few days) and the whole weekend was absolutely great. Congratulations to fellow prizewinners Joe Elefante and Alexander Lederer, whose pieces were excellent.
“The Beach” was broadcast on Radio 3 on 1st April (not a joke!) You can hear it at about 1hr16min here.
“The Wall” was included in Voces Inauditae’s concert of new choral works on 3rd March in Edinburgh.
“Where Are My Unnumbered Days?” from #choirsagainstracism has been selected by Wicker Park Singers of Chicago in their call for scores, and will have its world premiere in Chicago on 12th and 13th April in their “Journey to Begin” concert. The same piece has also won the Murau International Music Festival’s call for works, and will have its European premiere in Murau, Austria, on 26th and 27th April!
“Answer The Question” made it to the final round of Iceberg New Music’s call for scores! This was written for the National Library of Scotland’s “Digital Exam Re-sits” project – you can hear it on SoundCloud and see the score. SATB, 5 minutes, advanced difficulty.
“Migrations” was premiered in the New Gallery Concert Series in Seattle – recording coming soon! This instrumental piece, for any two instruments (preferably identical or from the same orchestral family) is free as part of #choirsagainstracism (scroll down to find it) and you can download and perform it for free. Donations or fundraising for anti-racism or pro-refugee causes would be appreciated.
“The Wall” will be sung by Voces Inauditae in their concert on 3rd March 2019 in St Columba’s by the Castle, Edinburgh.
“Welcome Carol” from #choirsagainstracism was sung by the choir of Chicago Temple on Sunday 16th December – great to get international outings for this project! See the video of their performance on YouTube!
“New Year Carol” was sung by Spectrum Singers in Wales on Saturday 8th December, and also performed by Bournville Voices in their Winter Celebration concerts on Mon 10th Dec and Mon 17th Dec, near Birmingham.
Choirs in the Cairngorms, Edinburgh, Kettering, and Finedon are singing Hush My Dear this Christmas.
The Watsonians Choir in Edinburgh sang Good King Wenceslas on 8th December.
“Migrations”, a short piece for any two instruments, written for Jen Wang’s “Pieces for RAICES” project thanks to a donation from Conrad Lumm, will be performed in Cambridge, Massachusetts on 26th January 2019 in the New Gallery Concert Series.
Awards news: “Three Memories Of Kurdistan” received an honorable mention in Voices21C‘s call for scores.
“The Beach” from “Three Memories of Kurdistan” (part of #choirsagainstracism) was performed by the BBC Singers on 21st September, and will be broadcast on Radio 3 in the next few months! Click here for concert details. This concert also included a piece by Alison Willis, who wrote “THEY” for #choirsagainstracism.
New page added on copyright and permissions to perform my work. If you have purchased a piece from me (or sung one of the #choirsagainstracism pieces), you can put a recording on YouTube or SoundCloud without having to ask permission! (Do please tell me about it though.)
The University of Hull Chapel Choir performed Hush My Dear at the British Science Festival on 11th September.
If for some reason you’d like to listen to all my choir recordings in alphabetical order, see this SoundCloud playlist.
“Incitement to Sailing” from The Birlinn and “They” by Alison Willis (which I wrote the words for – also from #choirsagainstracism) were performed in St Pancras Church, London, on 6th July 2018 – see London City Chorus’ page for details. Thank you to Paul Ayres, Philip Shannon and all the singers! Recordings coming soon. The Wall from #choirsagainstracism was featured in a concert/reading session in Seattle on 21st July, performed by Chorosynthesis.
In the meantime, here’s a new recording from the University of Hull Chapel Choir: “Hush My Dear”, a Christmas carol for SATB.
Updates at the #choirsagainstracism page! Every piece now has its own page, and the main page is just a nice clean set of links. New piece added, Immigrant Jesus for SATB choir; music by Kathyrn Rose, words by Gary Alderson.
“Answer The Question” has been released as part of the National Library of Scotland’s Exam Re-sits project. There are several other good pieces of work there too – take time to enjoy them all! It’s a choral setting of a 1962 Mathematics examination paper, for SATB (divisi useful but not vital). Contact me for a score if that sounds interesting to you. Quite high difficulty level but worth it. The performance here is by the Reid Consort, conducted by Cole Bendall.
“I am absolutely delighted by it. The elevation of the simple exam instruction has become something utterly compelling. It is piercingly crisp, haunting, complex, and feels like a piece for our times (all at the risk of sounding patronising – you and the singers are clearly expert at this kind of composition and execution). I have shared this with colleagues and the response has been unanimously positive. Thank you so much for rendering the humble and forgotten algebra exam into something genuinely remarkable.” Graeme Hawley, National Library of Scotland
My Preces and Responses were performed at the London Festival of Contemporary Choral Music earlier this year – the recordings are now online, recorded by Christopher Batchelor and St Pancras Parish Church Choir, London. See the PDF score.
“We Are One Voice” has been accepted for publication in the Hong Kong Children’s Choir 50th Anniversary Songbook.
In London City Chorus’ recent Call for Works, “Incitement to Sailing” from The Birlinn was one of the 3 winners (from almost 100 submissions), and so was “They” by Alison Willis – which I wrote the words for! Definitely the first award I’ve won for lyrics, and perhaps the first time someone’s done lyrics for one piece and music for another and had them both win a competition like this? Both works will be performed in St Pancras Church, London, on 6th July 2018 – see London City Chorus’ page for details.
“My Father” from #choirsagainstracism was broadcast on Radio 3’s “In Tune” on Friday 6th April! “Rather beautiful” – Sean Rafferty, “In Tune”, BBC Radio 3
Another bit of happy news: my “Responses” (see the PDF score) got chosen for the London Festival of Contemporary Church Music, and were performed in St Pancras Church at 6pm on 13th May, conducted by Christopher Batchelor. Here’s the full brochure, including works by several composers who have become friends over the last few years.
New music! “We Are One Voice” is a very flexible piece for choirs (commissioned by Beaconsfield Choir Festival) – ideal if you have a number of choirs of varying abilities and numbers of parts and want them all to sing one piece together that they can also use individually. It’s available for any type of choir and piano (available for 2-part, SSA, TBarB, SABar, SATB and unison) – click here for scores and a recording. Scores £2 each, or £25 for a PDF.
“It was very successful – we had 5 choirs in each of the three remaining concerts, and they performed well… The first concert was the most successful in terms of your song – most of the choirs had learnt the middle section, so we could perform it in its entirety. The other two concerts we only did the outer sections. I rehearsed it with them all together (in front of the audience) first, to check over the difficult bits, and then we did a performance. Lots of people said that they’d really enjoyed singing it together, and at the end the church was really ringing with the sound.” – Jane Smith, director, Beaconsfield Festival of Choirs
Pieces that haven’t been performed yet: “Hush, My Dear” is a very easy Christmas carol for SATB (PDF score, demo recording): “Lighten Our Darkness” is a tricky motet for TTBarB (PDF score, demo recording). If you would like to perform these, I’d be happy to give you free scores for performance, in exchange for a recording.
“Be Still, My Blessed Babe” is an art song / carol for solo mezzo-soprano and piano (possibly the darkest Christmas carol ever written – PDF score £10). Here’s the recording – thank you to Ruth Carlyle and David Barton for premiering this!
On Saturday 17th March in St Mary’s Cathedral, Palmerston Place, the Edinburgh Singers premiered “I brought your name to the river” with words by Aine McAllister, which was commissioned with support from Creative Scotland. Full concert details here. The piece is for 6-part mixed choir (SMezATBarB) – preview the score here (with piano reduction) and listen to the opening here (full recording coming soon). Price is £30 for a PDF or £2.50+P&P per printed score.
“To The Mountain” is available on Bandcamp! You can buy the CD and have it sent in the post, or download the whole album.
I’ve just been awarded some funding by the National Library of Scotland to do a choral piece based on mathematics exam papers from the 1960s. This is going to be quite different from what I’ve written before! More news on that once I start writing it… It’ll be performed in April by the Reid Consort.
Thank you to Creative Scotland for funding a new commission for The Edinburgh Singers! “I Brought Your Name To The River”, with text by Aine McAllister, will be premiered on 17th March in St Mary’s Cathedral, Palmerston Place, Edinburgh, and performed again in Stirling on 18th March. (see a sneak preview on Twitter)
Other upcoming premieres include “We Are One Voice”, with text by Euan Tait, at Beaconsfield Festival of Choirs on 3rd March 2018.
“A New Year Carol” was performed by Carillon Singers (England) and Voces Inauditae (Scotland).
“Welcome Carol” from #choirsagainstracism was sung by Dunbar Youth Voices in their Christmas concert on 14th December, and by a children’s choir in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in their Christmas Eve service.
If you’re performing any of my works at Christmas, please let me know – it’s always good to hear of more performances.
Three movements from “The Birlinn” for SATB choir and piano were premiered in St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh, on 12th November – hear recordings and get perusal scores! Available for SATB choir or TBarB choir.
For a sample, listen to “Incitement to Sailing” below:
I’m writing a new piece for Beaconsfield Festival of Choirs, with lyrics by Euan Tait. This will be sung by all the choirs at the end of each performance. Making it flexible enough for any size or combination of choirs is quite an interesting challenge…
Thank you to the BBC Singers, who workshopped “The Beach” from #choirsagainstracism earlier this month! It sounded fabulous. Sadly I can’t share the recording in public as it was only a workshop – contact me privately if you’re interested in performing the piece and would like to hear this first.
A little experiment – I’ve put up a new piece for which you can pay as much (or as little) as you want! It’s a 3-part round called “A Bicycle Wheel”, should be suitable for any level of choir.
Hear “My Father” from #choirsagainstracism in a beautiful new recording by KC VITAs chamber choir, Kansas:
And coming soon: “After Culloden” (easy, for SATB) will be performed by Rudsambee Company of Singers in Edinburgh, at St Giles’ Cathedral, Sunday 13th August, 6pm – admission free!
Brian Bilston, the unofficial poet laureate of Twitter, has very kindly allowed me to set his poem “The Kindness of Strangers” to music. It’s written in memory of the bombings in London and Manchester (and set to music also with the tragedy at Grenfell in mind). It’s about 3 minutes long, for SATB (maximum divisi to SSAATBB, ideal if you’re a bit short on tenors), easy to medium difficulty.
Download a sample score
Hear an audio demo
Download a sample score with piano reduction
Adeste Fideles has been accepted for Project: Encore, which aims to get second (and further) performances for new choral works. Hear it below:
New! A New Year Carol – SATB with a few bars of soprano divisi. Would make a good closer or encore for a concert near Christmas, or (ideally!) for a concert around the start of the year. Download the score and hear an audio demo. £20 for a PDF to print unlimited copies, or £1 per printed copy (plus postage if outside the UK).
Janya – rescored for full orchestra
My three SABar Scots songs, published by Spartan Press, will be performed by Heritage Masterworks Chorale on Saturday 9th September, in St Mary’s Church, Thirsk, North Yorkshire.
“My Father” will also be performed in Edinburgh by Voces Inauditae, on Saturday 16th September (SSAATTBB version).
Commissions coming up for Dingwall and District Choral Society, Napier University Chamber Choir, and the Edinburgh Singers!
“In Springtime” from #choirsagainstracism was featured in a workshop by Dorking Camerata (Surrey, England) on 6th May conducted by Amy Bebbington, and has also just been recorded by the Reid Consort in Edinburgh: hear it below! More recordings coming soon. Thanks to Creative Scotland and the Hope Scott Trust for funding this:
Sleep Songs: Wordless Lullabies For the Sleepless is fully funded on Kickstarter! I’ll be writing a wordless lullaby for American mezzo-soprano Megan Ihnen. You can still support the project and order a copy of the album, scores of all the lullabies, or even a personalised recording.
On 7th and 8th April, the Reid Consort in Edinburgh recorded several of my works, including “Next Morning”, “3 Churches Mass”, and “In Springtime” from #choirsagainstracism. Those will be online soon!
Thank you to Quintessential Voices for recording “Mary Morison”! Listen below:
“Mary Morison” will also be included in Quintessential Voices’ concerts on 19th May (Hetton Methodist Church) and 11th June (Brancepeth Castle), both near Durham – concert details here.
New pieces up at #choirsagainstracism – “3 Memories of Kurdistan” (The Beach, In Springtime and My Father) with words from Kurdish refugees, free to fight prejudice and hatred, or to raise funds for refugees or related causes. The PDF is available as a single download – get the SSSSAAAA version or the SSAATTBB version.
The University of Glasgow Chapel Choir gave the premiere of “No Man Is An Island” (version for men’s voices), another piece that’s part of #choirsagainstracism – hear a recording below!