Born in Cleethorpes, UK in 1955, Robert Hugill is a mainly self-taught composer. In the 1970s and 80s 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 at St Mary’s Church, Chelsea (Roman Catholic), the Oxford Oratory (Roman Catholic), St Peter’s Church, Ealing (Anglican), St Woolos Cathedral, Newport (Anglican) and St George's Church, Hanover Square (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 premièred 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 forty 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 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 premièred by London Concord Singers in December 2002. The Black Dragon, inspired by a science fiction story, was premièred by London Concord Singers in 2000 as part of their Millennium celebrations. In 2006 London Concord Singers premièred Robert's Ubi Carmina as part of their 40th anniversary celebrations.
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. Robert is currently working on a new three act chamber opera.
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 début 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.
Robert is currently working on a new opera, Control/Alt/Delete, with librettist Lynn Binstock and his second volume of motets for the church's year, Tempus per Annum, will be published in autumn 2009.
Robert’s Passion is published by Bardic Edition and the remainder of his catalogue is available on-line from Spherical Editions. Robert reviews CDs for Music Web International and writes regular opera reviews for Music & Vision.
Read more at Robert’s Web Site.
M&V articles about Robert Hugill
A Real Find - Robert Davies made a remarkable impact when he stood in as Papageno late in the run of English Touring Opera's 'The Magic Flute'; Roderic Dunnett profiles him and celebrates the progress of other ETO cast members
Record Box. Splendidly Achieved - Music by Robert Hugill, reviewed by Patric Standford
Ensemble. Real Inspiration - Verse anthems from FifteenB, reviewed by Roderic Dunnett
Barcelona diary - The London Concord Singers visit Catalunya, and Robert Hugill keeps a written record of the trip
CD Spotlight. Wind without mercy - Robert Hugill's 'Passion', reviewed by Keith Bramich. '... a very distinctive soundworld ...'
Premature conclusions? - Alistair Hinton replies to Robert Hugill on the subject of composers and sexuality
Music & Vision articles by Robert Hugill
Handel's 'Flavio' from English Touring Opera
Purcell's 'The Fairy Queen'
Puccini's 'Il Trittico'
Giuseppe Verdi's 'Don Carlo'. '... a strong candidate for the library shelves.'
Rossini's 'William Tell'
Piano music by Ricky Ian Gordon. 'Nauman plays ... consummately ...'
A recital by Vuyani Mlinde
Robert Hugill was at Grange Park Opera's 'Tristan and Isolde'
Robert Hugill was at Chelsea Opera Group's performance of Puccini's 'Manon Lescaut'
Handel's 'Giulio Cesare' in Versailles
Robert Hugill has reservations about Terry Gilliam's production of Berlioz's 'The Damnation of Faust'
Rimsky-Korsakov's 'The Tsar's Bride'
English Touring Opera's 'La Clemenza di Tito'
Berlioz's 'The Trojans' at Berlin's Deutsche Oper
Mark Anthony Turnage's 'Anna Nicole'
Donizetti's 'Lucrezia Borgia'
An evening with Juan-Diego Flórez
Robert Hugill listens to sixteenth century Christmas music sung by the Chapelle du Roi
Wagner's 'Tannhäuser' at Covent Garden
'Orpheus in the Underworld' at London's Royal College of Music
Verdi's 'Don Carlo'
Gounod's 'Roméo et Juliette'
Handel's 'Radamisto' at the London Coliseum
Grange Park Opera's 'Madama Butterfly'
Robert Hugill experiences Stephen Oliver's 'Euridice'
Robert Hugill visits the Gut Immling Festival for a performance of Wagner's 'The Flying Dutchman'
Massenet's 'Manon' at Covent Garden
A Covent Garden 'Salome' revival
Mozart's 'Idomeneo' at English National Opera
Grange Park Opera's 'Capriccio'
'The Love of Three Oranges' at Grange Park Opera
Francesca Zamballo's production of 'Carmen'
English National Opera's new production of 'Tosca'
Weber's 'Der Freischütz'
Music for Holy Week sung by the Chapelle du Roi
Janácek's 'Katya Kabanova'
Handel's 'Tamerlano' at Covent Garden
Donizetti's 'Don Pasquale'
'Belshazzar' at the London Handel Festival
Chelsea Opera Group's 'La Traviata'
Prokofiev's 'The Gambler'
Robert Hugill has some reservations about Jonathan Miller's 'L'elisir d'amore'
Robert Hugill reads the new Cambridge Handel Encyclopaedia
Christine Brewer sings Wagner
Christmas music from Chicago a cappella. '... I would have liked a little more grit ...'
Robert Hugill was at the first night of Tchaikovsky's 'The Tsarina's Slippers' at Covent Garden
Donizetti's 'Maria di Rohan'
Handel's 'Susanna' from Les Arts Florissants
Robert Hugill was at English Touring Opera's 'Alcina'
Robert Hugill was at English Touring Opera's 'Tolomeo'
Robert Hugill reviews Handel's 'Flavio'
William Christie's 'Dido and Aeneas'
Pimlico Opera's 'Rigoletto'
Verdi's 'Don Carlo' at Covent Garden
Donizetti's 'Linda di Chamounix'
A Rossini double bill
American dramatic soprano Christine Brewer talks to Robert Hugill
William Christie conducts Purcell's 'The Fairy Queen'
Robert Hugill looks forward to English Touring Opera's HandelFest this autumn
Janácek's 'The Cunning Little Vixen'
'Carmen' from Paris
Weill and Brecht's 'Threepenny Opera'
Verdi's 'Simon Boccanegra' from Chelsea Opera Group
Grange Park Opera's 'Norma'
Piazzolla and Vivaldi's 'Four Seasons'. '... I rather missed the sound of the bandoneon ...'
Robert Hugill was at the opening performance of English National Opera's 'Peter Grimes'
Robert Hugill was at the start of Endymion's 30th birthday celebrations
Bellini's 'Norma' from English Touring Opera
'Jephtha' at the London Handel Festival
'Alessandro' at the London Handel Festival
Rossini's opera 'Ermione'
Martyna Jatkauskaite plays Mozart and Schumann
English Touring Opera's 'Magic Flute'
John Adams' 'Dr Atomic' in London
'Theodora' at the London Handel Festival
The Cardinall's Musick sings William Byrd. '... the scholarship in the set is impressive ...'
Francesco Cilea's 'Adriana Lecouvreur'
Marc Minkowski and Les Musiciens du Louvre-Grenoble
Handel arias from the Classical Opera Company
Arias performed by Vania Vatralova-Stankov. '... a richness and depth ...'
Concertos by Handel. '... the playing here is some of the most incisive that I have heard ...'
Donizetti's 'Parisina d'Este'
English Touring Opera's 'Rusalka'
Vaughan Williams' 'Sancta Civitas'
Independent Opera's 'Pelléas et Mélisande'
The first performance of Gabriel Jackson's Requiem
Rossini's 'Mathilde de Shabran' at Covent Garden
Peter Brook's 'La Tragedie de Carmen'
Cavalli's 'La Calisto'
Handel's 'Parnasso in Festa'. '... some truly superb Handel singing (and playing) ...'
'Cav and Pag' at English National Opera
Jonathan Dove's opera 'Flight'
British Youth Opera's 'La Rondine'
Puccini's 'Tosca' at the Verona Arena
Verdi's 'Don Carlo'
Robert Hugill enjoys Puccini's 'La Fanciulla del West' at Grange Park Opera
Dvorák's 'Rusalka' at Grange Park Opera
Andreas Scholl in London
Robert Hugill at English National Opera's 'Der Rosenkavalier'
'Bluebeard' at Grange Park Opera
Matthew Schellhorn's Wigmore Hall début recital
English National Opera's new production of 'The Merry Widow'
'Atalanta' at the London Handel Festival
Chelsea Opera Group's 'Macbeth'
Mike Brewer and The National Youth Choirs celebrate their 25th anniversary
Donizetti's 'Anna Bolena' from English Touring Opera
Michael Hoppé's Requiem. '... a talented melodist ...'
Paul Jackson's third book about the Metropolitan Opera Broadcasts
'Lucia di Lammermoor' at English National Opera
Robert Hugill talks to Bach Choir conductor David Hill about Carl Rütti's new Requiem
Robert Hugill was at London's recent Judith Weir weekend
Vocal music by Gesualdo
Robert Hugill reviews a performance of Donizetti's 'Maria Stuarda'
Robert Hugill discovers two operas by Elizabeth Maconchy
An unusual version of Puccini's 'Turandot'
Bellini's 'La Straniera'
Robert Hugill at a concert by Londinium City Voices
Robert Hugill experiences Handel's opera 'Teseo'
Robert Hugill at English National Opera's 'The Coronation of Poppea'
Robert Hugill experiences James MacMillan's opera 'The Sacrifice' at Welsh National Opera
Gluck's 'Iphigénie en Tauride'
Bellini's 'I Capuletti e I Montecchi'
Handel's 'Semele' at Grange Park
Robert Hugill praises Grange Park Opera's production of Prokofiev's 'The Gambler'
Grange Park Opera's 'The Magic Flute'
A Ravel / Puccini double bill
Alan Riding and Leslie Dunton-Downer's companion to opera
'Poro' at the London Handel Festival
Nelly Miricioiu in Bellini's 'Beatrice di Tenda'
Handel's 'Orlando' from Covent Garden
Handel's 'Agrippina' at English National Opera
Sacred treasures. '... certainly intoxicating.'
Donizetti's 'La Fille du Regiment'
A rare London concert by Schola Pietatis Antonio Vivaldi
Handel's 'Orlando' at Sadler's Wells
English National Opera's 'Jenufa'
'Jephte' and 'Dido' from English Touring Opera
Pimlico Opera's 'The Barber of Seville'
A new book about Monteverdi's musical dramas
Robert Hugill writes about the history of the first performance of Bizet's 'Carmen'
'Nixon in China'
Salon music by Katharine Parker. 'Edwards has a lovely soprano voice ...'
'L'Elisir d'Amore' at Grange Park Opera
The Chelsea Opera Group's 'I Puritani'
Handel's 'Ariodante' at English National Opera
Sara Botkin's one-woman vocal disc. '... in a natural acoustic ... the results would have been ravishing.'
'Tolomeo' at the London Handel Festival
Music by Nick Davis. '... a wide palette of colours ...'
Yvonne Kenny and Iain Burnside at London's Wigmore Hall
Stephen Barlow's cathedral opera 'King'
Robert Hugill is won over by English National Opera's 'Orfeo'
Opera recordings conducted by Stokowski. 'It leaves one wishing that they'd recorded more.'
Handel's oratorio 'Solomon'
English Touring Opera's 'Tosca'
'Sir John in Love'
Phyllida Lloyd's production of Verdi's 'Macbeth'
'Benvenuto Cellini' in Strasbourg
'Il Barbiere di Siviglia' at Covent Garden
Colin Davies conducts Elgar's 'Dream of Gerontius', and Robert Hugill was in the audience
'Billy Budd' at English National Opera
Spirituals and gospel music sung by Chanticleer. '... enjoyable ...'
'A Midsummer Marriage' at Covent Garden
Richard Strauss's 'Salome' at English National Opera
'Dialogues des Carmélites' at English National Opera
Gerald Barry's new opera 'Petra von Kant'
Robert Hugill muses on the staging of Handel's oratorios
Ian Wilson, featured composer at the 2005 Presteigne Festival, talks to Robert Hugill
Highlighs from Barenboim's 'Ring', concluding a series of reviews. 'The balance ... favours Evans more, which is a good thing.'
'Twilight of the Gods' from Bayreuth. '... well worth waiting for.'
Barenboim's 'Siegfried', in the continuing set of reviews. '... a highly listenable, dramatic experience.'
'Die Walküre' from Bayreuth, the second review in a series
Barenboim conducts Wagner's 'Das Rheingold' from Bayreuth. '... a beautiful, well-shaped, flowing performance.'
Daphna Cohen-Licht's recital disc 'Emotional Turbulence'. '... Cohen-Licht gives full reign to the drama ...'
Handel's 'Flavio' in London
'Maria Stuarda' at Grange Park Opera
Handel's 'Jephtha' at the London Coliseum.
Robert Hugill was at Covent Garden's 'Il Turco in Italia'
Robert Hugill was at the Cambridge Handel Opera Group's 'Tamerlano'
'Tales of a Summer Past' by Nick Davis
Robert Hugill muses on Wagnerian sopranos and changing performance tradition
Music by John Adams. 'Alsop has a clear feel for this music ...'
Chabrier's 'Le Roi malgré lui' at Lyons Opera
Vocal music by Wolfgang Rihm. '... purity, clarity and commendable accuracy.'
Robert Hugill asks the question and, whilst previewing the forthcoming season, suggests three possible answers
Robert Hugill on Jonathan Kent's staging of 'A Child of Our Time'
A song recital by Malena Ernman. '... lively and charmingly refreshing ...'
Robert Hugill writes about the British Composer Awards
'Don Pasquale' at Covent Garden
Glinka's 'A Life for the Tsar' in London
A composer's perspective
Offenbach in Paris
Guitar music by Villa-Lobos. '... charming and creditable.'
Bohuslav Martinu's 'The Greek Passion' at London's Covent Garden
The Choir of St Martin-in-the-Fields. '... an impressive standard ...'
Robert Hugill meets British pianist Ashley Wass
The London Concord Singers visit Catalunya, and Robert Hugill keeps a written record of the trip
Richard Strauss's 'Ariadne auf Naxos' at Covent Garden
Britten's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' at the London Coliseum
Tchaikovsky's 'The Enchantress' at Grange Park
'Peter Grimes' at Covent Garden
'Wonderful Town' at Grange Park Opera
Richard Strauss's 'Arabella' at Covent Garden
Chelsea Opera Group's 'Andrea Chénier'
Robert Hugill muses on the marriage of music and words in the seventeenth century
The primeTime sublime Community Orchestra. '... this whole disc is about horrifying purists.'
'Dance of the Blessed Spirits' for saxophone and organ. '... a lovely technique ...'
Robert Hugill experiences Zurich Opera's 'Radamisto'
Interesting music by composers of varying nationalities. '... fine, confident performances ...'
Robert Hugill reviews the current Covent Garden London production of 'Samson and Delila'
Robert Hugill asks what effect sexuality can have on the art of writing music
Robert Hugill takes a look around the newly-restored London Coliseum, home of English National Opera
Robert Hugill experiences Thomas Adès's opera 'The Tempest'
Robert Hugill discusses Vaughan Williams and the Bloomsbury Group
Les Arts Florissants perform music by Charpentier
Robert Hugill investigates the world of collaborative opera
Joglaresa and Belinda Sykes perform medieval songs for Mary Magdelene. '... enormous freshness and immediacy.'
Vivaldi's concertos dedicated to Johann Georg Pisendel. '... an attractive and lively group.'
Robert Hugill listens to music by William Copper
Robert Hugill asks some questions about the music of William Byrd
Robert Hugill investigates the fascinating world of opera in eighteenth century London
A recording of Rossini's Petite Messe solennelle. '... a stunning choral sound ...'
Music by Andrea Gabrieli. '... His Majestys Sagbutts and Cornetts play stunningly ...'
Robert Hugill congratulates the Chelsea Opera Group on its performance of 'The Pearl Fishers'
A concert performance of 'Serse'