Hiscott, Jim (1948-)
Jim Hiscott was born in 1948 in St. Catharines, Ontario. In 1971, after earning a Master's Degree in Theoretical Particle Physics, he switched to music composition, studying with Samuel Dolin at the Royal Conservatory of Music and David Lidov and Richard Teitelbaum at York University. He is the recipient of the Creative Arts Award of the Canadian Federation of University Women, and a Governor General's Medal. His compositions have been performed across North America, in Europe and Asia by many artists including the Hilliard Ensemble, the St. Lawrence String Quartet, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the New Hamilton Orchestra, Rivka Golani, Arraymusic, Philadelphia's Relache, and the Colorado College New Music Ensemble.
Jim Hiscott has been performing his own works for button accordion in chamber, orchestral, and solo situations for the past two decades across Canada and in the United States. He has performed several times as soloist in Dancing on Wings of Fire
with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, as well as in other pieces in the WSO's Centara Corporation New Music Festival. He recently performed Dancing on Wings of Fire
with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra led by Marco Parisotto. He has also performed in the Vancouver New Music Society series, Toronto's Big Squeeze Festival, and on the main stage of the Vancouver Folk Music Festival. His piece You should not mourn
, commissioned by the Hilliard Ensemble, has been performed by them around the world. He has been heard regularly as composer and performer on the CBC Radio network.
Recent premieres include Pilgrimage
for orchestra, commissioned by the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra; Waves of Passion
for button accordion, cello, piano, and bass, commissioned by the Agassiz Chamber Players, and Rhythm of Spring
, commissioned by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.
Jim Hiscott is Associate Composer with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.
String Quartet n° 1 (1992)
This work is made up of three interconnected movements plus a coda, revolving around a D major modality. The four-chord progression which begins the first movement is inspired in part by African popular music, and in part by the pentatonic 'slendro' scale of Indonesian gamelan music. The second movement contains a series of episodes featuring various instruments of the quartet; the central section suggests the rhythmic, repetitive bamboo gamelan music of Western Bali. The third movement is an evocation of the Pacific Ocean at sunset, seen from a high promontory on the Sonoma Coast of California in December 1991. As the sun descended, the waves became innumerable shifting, sparkling points of reflected golden light, resembling schools of leaping dolphins, and extending off into the horizon. The brief and elegiac coda recalls material from the first two movements.
String Quartet n° 2 (1998)
String Quartet no. 2 is a one-movement piece without extra-musical references. The opening is both melodic and repetitive: a kind of static, obsessive phrase in the first violin, chromatic but featuring major seconds and minor thirds. Mood and emotion are the focus of the piece, in a number of contrasting sections. When the opening phrase returns, it has expanded its range, and is now shared amongst the players.