Rediscovering Mirrie Hill (1889-1986): composer in her own right
AffiliationFaculty of Music
Melbourne Conservatorium of Music
Document TypeMasters Research thesis
CitationsPearce, R. (2002). Rediscovering Mirrie Hill (1889-1986): composer in her own right. Masters Research thesis, Faculty of Music, The University of Melbourne.
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© 2002 Rowena Pearce
Australian composer, pianist and educator Mirrie Hill (nee Solomon) was born in Sydney in 1889. She studied piano with Joseph Kretschmann and Laurence Godfrey-Smith, theory with Ernest Truman and composition with Alfred Hill. The outbreak of World War One in 1914 thwarted Mirrie Solomon's plans to study music in Europe and led to her entering the newly established New South Wales State Conservatorium of Music. In 1916, she was awarded a composition scholarship by the Director, Henri Verbrugghen. She later took on the role of Assistant Professor of Harmony, Counterpoint and Composition at the Conservatorium from 1918 until1944. Her teaching position and role as an examiner for the Australian Music Examinations Board served as complementary interests to her primary work as a composer. In 1921 Mirrie Solomon married the renowned Australian composer Alfred Hill. This marriage had a considerable impact on her ability to establish a reputation as a composer in her own right, and her contributions to Australian music have been largely overshadowed by Alfred Hill's more prominent status. Mirrie Hill composed over five hundred works across many genres. She wrote symphonic works, chamber music and film music and was a prolific writer of art songs, piano works and elementary works for children. Almost half of her compositions were published in Australia and many of her orchestral works were performed, broadcast and recorded during her lifetime. Mirrie Hill's reputation as a composer of 'miniatures' has lingered, despite her remarkable successes in other areas of music. To date, no in-depth study of Mirrie Hill has been attempted, and as such, her substantial creative output and contributions to Australian music have gone largely unrecognised. This thesis will explore both biographical and musical aspects of the composer and is intended as an overview of Mirrie Hill's contribution to many facets of Australian music throughout her lifetime.
KeywordsMirrie Hill; women composers; Australia; biography
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