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Born: Renfrew, Scotland. August , 1942.

Education: Mitcham County Grammar School for Boys; Royal College of Music, London.


Richard Hill's musical career began when he won a Foundation Open Scholarship to the Royal College of Music London, at the age of 17. There he undertook three studies, under Morris Smith [trombone], Millicent Silver [piano & harpsichord], Philip Cannon [composition and music theory], and he also played under the world-renowned English conductor Sir Adrian Boult, for whom, as 'best on his instrument', he became principal trombone in the RCM symphony orchestra.

At the RCM Richard became a founder member of the London Gabrieli Brass Ensemble. He also started his own rock band [with minor chart success] and played professional jazz with the Dave Keir Jazz Band. After leaving the RCM Hill played in a number of symphony orchestras on a freelance basis including the Royal Opera House Orchestra, the London Philharmonic and the Philharmonia amongst others. The orchestral experience gained under such conductors as Sir Adrian Boult, Sir Georg Solti, Leonard Bernstein, Sir Roger Norrington and Rudolf Schwarz was broadened by playing Duke Ellington's music under Billy Strayhorn, in a production of Shakespeare's 'Timon of Athens'. With an already developed interest in jazz and rock, Hill's career underwent a sea change when he was asked to join Polydor Records as a composer/conductor/producer and studio arranger at the height of the sixties. He stopped playing and began to write.


The opportunity to work in the music industry during such an exciting period led on to a career as a media composer and studio arranger in recording, television, film and theatre. Film scores included 'To Kill a Clown' starring Alan Alda and 'Baffled' starring Susan Hampshire and Leonard Nimoy. In television, as well as writing many programme themes for BBC, ATV and TVS, plus station promos and advertising jingles, scores for major TV drama series included Arnold Bennett's 'Clayhanger' trilogy starring Janet Suzman, John Mortimer's 'Will Shakespeare' starring Tim Curry and Don Shaw's 'Sounding Brass' starring Brian Glover.

Throughout this period Hill enjoyed worldwide success as co-creator, with Professor Nevill Coghill [Merton Professor of English Literature, Oxford University], Martin Starkie and John Hawkins, of the musical based on Chaucer's 'Canterbury Tales', which ran for over 5 years in the West End and became a Broadway production for Frank Loesser, before embarking on two tours of the USA. 'Canterbury Tales' enjoyed major productions all over the world, but particularly in Australia, South Africa and Germany as well as in many other European countries - and a small, touring version is still performed today. The 'Canterbury Pilgrims' album, which led to the West End show, was narrated by Martin Starkie, with music composed by Hill/Hawkins. It was conducted and produced by Hill and was nominated for a Grammy Award in Los Angeles in 1969, in the 'Best Spoken Word' category.


As a composer/producer of over 50 albums, a wide variety of musical adventures coloured Hill's career, including his production of contemporary composer Cornelius Cardew's legendary avant-garde work for The Scratch Orchestra, 'The Great Learning', on the Deutsche Grammophon label.

A collaboration with the Choral Scholars of Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge University, led to the successful formation of the Polydor recording group The Gentle Power of Song, led by Marcus Bicknell. With them Hill produced and orchestrated the classic poetry and music Christmas album 'Peace', [since re-issued as 'The Holly & The Ivy' on DGG] - and the beautifully conceived album 'Circus' from which came the single 'Constant Penelope', which became something of a cult production on the Internet. The GPoS were much influenced by the Beach Boys, Mamas & Papas and other West Coast vocal folk-rock bands. From 'California Dreamin' then, to Sussex in England, where Hill became fascinated by the folk music of The Amazing Catsfield Steamers, producing the folk charting album 'United Friends' as well as the highly popular television-oriented chart album 'Songs of Joy' with the choir of the Pestalozzi International Childrens Village who went on, under Hill's leadership, to enjoy No.1 chart success on Paul McCartney's single 'Pipes of Peace'. The magical, but forgotten prog-rock album 'Chanctonbury Ring' also dates from this period.


The influence of such a wide spectrum of musical experience, underpinned by a classical training, shines through Hill's crossover compositions for concert hall and theatre, which have attracted such generous reviews. In his world of sound, jazz musicians naturally integrate with symphony orchestras, lieder singers perform to synthesizer tracks, actors narrate poetry to music and the arts of visual imagery and drama are never far away

The 'Symphony of Jazz' orchestral concert series with Chris Barber's Jazz Band [performing over 50 concerts around Europe], 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner' music drama [Hill's setting for an Oxford University company of Coleridge's epic poem, nationally acclaimed at the Edinburgh Festival] and the symphonic ballet/concert work with narration by Ben Kingsley, 'Images from Kubla Khan', all reflect the accessible and original style which defines Richard Hill's contemporary music. As a performer, his album 'Baroque Sounds' demonstrates his ability to combine musically sensitive performances of baroque classics with the capabilities of the modern music synthesizer. His narration of his own poetry [set to his own musical soundscapes and those of son Paul], marks the start of another creative adventure for this multi-talented artist.


'Concerto for Trumpet' has just been completed, and work has begun on a setting of the Lord's Prayer, scored for two choirs in both Anglo-Saxon and Modern English.

The short ballet, 'Anatomy of A Weekend' for two dancers and string orchestra or string quartet is near completion, as is the dramatization of 'The World of Wulfstan - Miracles, Magic & Belief'. An album setting of 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner' for narrator, tenor and baritone backed by a wonderfully hypnotic and evocative synthesizer score, is underway.

Richard has just signed a ‘life of copyright’ publishing contract with Peermusic Classical for all his orchestral works. Peermusic Accorder have released a digital download version of ‘Images from Kubla Khan’, which is available on all major digital platforms.

In recent years Richard has added to his outlets for artistic expression by creating digital art. You might like to enjoy the fruits of these labours by visiting the relevant page on our site.


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