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Graham Hair

Photograph Graham Hair is principally a composer, but also involved in performance and research.

He divides his time between the UK, Australia and the United States.

In the UK he is Professor Emeritus (formerly Gardiner Chair in Music) of Glasgow University's Music Department and Research Fellow of its Science and Music Research Group (School of Engineering), Visiting Professor of Manchester Metropolitan University's Department of Contemporary Arts, and Director of the Glasgow-based vocal ensemble Scottish Voices.

In the United States he conducts composer-residencies and concerts: most recently (in 2009) directing Scottish Voices on tour in Maryland, Delaware and Virginia, and (in 2011) recording tracks for the CD Music of Three Continents to be issued in the US by Parma Recordings in 2012.

In Australia, he was Adjunct Professor at Monash University in Melbourne 1999-2005, and since 2006 has been Adjunct Professor at the Australian National University in Canberra, and Co-Investigator -- with Associate Prof Greg Schiemer (University of Wollongong) -- on a research project on microtonal music funded by the Australian Research Council. His 4 most recent visits to Australia -- in July, September and December of 2009 and in May of 2010 -- were for (respectively):

Recent compositions include

During 2003-2007 he was Australia Council Composition Fellow, which funded him to write several works for Australian soloists, ensembles and choirs.

Other recent (2001-2009) funding includes 9 awards from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) of the UK, 4 from the British Academy, 4 from the Scottish Arts Council, and single awards from the Carnegie (UK) and Potter (Australia) Trusts, and from the Royal Society of Edinburgh

Many of his compositions are for solo women's voices (SSA, SAA or SSAA), either unaccompanied or (more often) accompanied by solo instrumentalist (piano, harp, percussion, organ), duo (cor anglais/harmonium), ensemble or orchestra. Recent projects included:

His research interests include regional, transplanted and post-colonial musics. This includes various aspects of Australian, New Zealand, Scottish and American music, and the music of 'Hitler's émigrés'. A second interest is in 'Empirical Performance Studies' in which the methods of science and technology are used to discover information about musical performance which is difficult to access using the methodologies of the humanities and the 'coded knowledge' embodied in performing traditions alone.

His recent research often involves multi-disciplinary, interdisciplinary or cross-disciplinary collaboration. One such collaboration was Rehearsing Microtonal Music: Grappling with Performance and Intonational Problems with Dr Nick Bailey and Douglas McGilvray (Glasgow University, Electronics), clarinettist Ingrid Pearson (Royal College of Music, London), soprano Amanda Morrison (BBC Singers, Steve Reich and Musicians, Scottish Voices et al) and Dr Richard Parncutt (Institüt für Musikwissenschaft, Graz, Austria), in which performers' capacities to play music using the microtonal scale with 19 steps in the octave was investigated.

Four symposia which he edited or co-edited, and to which he contributed, were published in 2004 and 2005:

Collections of essays on Australian composer Don Banks and on Matyas Seiber (Hitler émigré, 1905-1960, long resident in London, and teacher of many composers, including Don Banks) are available on this site. Two monographs (Meeting Place: The Music of Don Banks and The Music of Matyas Seiber), which extend and develop both these collections of essays, are in preparation.

The Carnegie-Trust-funded collaborative project A Companion to Recent Scottish Music is also well advanced. Some items from this symposium are available on this site (see above). The first volume of the Companion will appear in print in 2010.

Graham has co-convened the 5 annual Musica Scotica conferences (2005–2009) in Glasgow and Edinburgh on 800 years of Scottish Music. The volume Musica Scotica: 800 years of Scottish Music/Proceedings from the 2004 and 2005 Conferences, which he co-edited with Heather Kelsall and Dr Kenneth Elliott, appeared in 2008.

Graham is also involved with several musical journals:
Current Issues in Music (co-editor)
Journal of Interdisciplinary Musicology (associate editor)
Scottish Music Review (editorial board member)

Outputs, including Downloads, by Project

Outputs from Research and Composition Projects appear here as soon as copyright and other issues permit. Sometimes definitive outputs take some time to finalise after the conclusion of the actual research project, and sometimes outputs from projects undergo further development (or, in some cases, revision), or new projects grow out of earlier ones.

Support given by the various funding bodies is also acknowledged, where appropriate.

Conferences and Colloquia

  • Ideas and Outputs (including performances) generated by various research projects have been, or will be, presented at conferences and colloquia in many different places. Selected recent, current and forthcoming conferences and colloquia include:

    Composition Projects

    Transcendental Concert Studies Project

    Funded by the AHRC of the UK


    Completion of definitive, revised versions of some of these Studies was made possible by a composer-residency at the Montsalvat Arts Centre in Melbourne in the Autumn of 2010


    Download PDF files of the following scores:

    Play Under Aldebaran (requires Java)
    Play Rainbow Lorikeets (requires Java)
    Play Red Autumn in Valvins (requires Java)

    A selection of the Transcendental Concert Studies, played by Michael Kieran Harvey, has been released on CD in 2008. A complete recording, by Martin Jones, will be released in 2011.

    Download articles from the Transcendental Concert Studies project

    Octet with Voices Project

    Funded by the AHRC of the UK



    Funded by the Scottish Arts Council




    Project in collaboration with the Ives Quartet and Mockingbirds (Vocal Quartet), with the Hawthorne Quartet and Pandora's Vox (Vocal Quartet) and with the Edinburgh Quartet and Scottish Voices

    PDF Score Download a PDF score of the Octet with Voices

    Play the Octet with Voices (requires Java)

    Press comment on Octet with Voices:

    The Melbourne Age (Clive O'Connell):
    Pick of the program was the Hair work, a setting of poems by Malouf, McAuley and the famous Judith Wright lyric that gave the work its title. Here the four voices were put to brilliant use, notably in the colouful word-painting of Malouf's Harmonice Mundi, and then a series of evocative solos for soprano Alison Morgan in To the Holy Spirit by Tasmania's noted Catholic poet.

    But for an ideal illustration of Hair's insight into setting texts, the Wright poem proved the most engaging and gripping. The voices moved together and apart with masterly variety, the text given its due and remaining clear even in verbally complex passages, the accompanying string quartet shimmering with excitement and providing a vivid commentary on the verbal content, separate but equal with the Halcyon voices and having the last say in a postlude of unabashed euphony and humanity: a most moving work, that we could easily have heard again.

    The Glasgow Herald (Michael Tumelty):
    Graham Hair's plainly-titled Octet with Voices, in which four female singers from Scottish Voices joined with the Edinburgh Quartet in a performance conducted by the composer, was, in fact, far from plain. An exuberant triptych of settings of texts by David Malouf, James McAuley and Judith Wright, the beautifully-crafted Octet, which had all the colour and sensitivity of Ravel, lifted the concert onto a different level, with gleaming singing from the Scottish Voices, and the quartet's best playing of the night.

    Sacred Songbook Project

    A "multi-cultural" cycle of motets to texts from all three "Abrahamic" traditions.

    Composition of some of the items in the Sacred Songbook was made possible by a composer-residency at the Montsalvat Arts Centre in Melbourne in the Autumn of 2010


    Individual items include:

    American Waltzes Project

    Five paraphrases of American popular songs for SAA and piano.

    Download/Play (Playing requires Java) selected American Waltzes

    Play All Play American Waltzes (complete).

    Church Music Projects

    Composed for:

    Download/Play (Playing requires Java) selected Church Music

    Vernacular Paraphrases Project

    Paraphrases of American popular songs for SAA and piano.

    Download/Play (Playing requires Java) selected Vernacular Paraphrases

    Microtonal Project

    Funded by the AHRC of the UK



    PDF File The Rosegarden Codicil

    The Principal Investigator for this project (2006–2007) was Dr Ingrid Pearson, Deputy Director of the Graduate School, Royal College of Music. For this project, three microtonal songs (based on the tempered scale with 19 tones per octave) were composed, and workshopped with the musicians (Ingrid herself on clarinet, with soprano Amanda Morrison), in order to develop (via technological assistance from engineers Dr Nick Bailey and Dr Dougie McGilvray and advice on psychological aspects from Dr Richard Parncutt) some guidelines about the extent and limits of the musicians' perceptual and performing capacities with regard to microtonal materials.

    Play PDF Score Download/Play (Playing requires Java)
    Three Microtonal Songs for Soprano, Clarinet and Harmonium.

    A more recent performance was prepared for a presentation at the International Computer Music Conference (Queen's University, Belfast, August 27, 2008) by Lisa Swayne (soprano), Alex South (clarinet) and Graham Hair (keyboard).

    Play video Lisa Swayne (soprano), Alex South (clarinet) and Graham Hair (keyboard) rehearsing Three Microtonal Songs - no 3: Dance in the Chapel of Glasgow University, July, 2008

    Australian Fellowship Projects


    Funded by the Australia Council


    Project begun in 2003-2005, extended to 2007
    Play PDF Score Download/Play Frenzy and Folly, Fire and Joy
    (Playing requires Java)

    A more recent performance, by clarinettist Murray Khouri, was video-recorded in the Glasgow University Chapel in 2010. This video can be viewed on Mr Khouri's website: here

    Web versions (score and audiofile) also forthcoming for:

    Lament for Santa Sophia Project

    Funded by the Scottish Arts Council


    Chorus and Electro-acoustic Sound.
    Commissioned by Cappella Nova Choir (Glasgow), cond Alan Tavener
    Recorded by the Astra Chamber Choir (Melbourne), April 2008
    Play PDF Score Download/Play (Playing requires Java) Lament for Santa Sophia

    Great Circle Project

    Symphony for Voices and Orchestra or for Voices, Piano and Percussion.

    Into the Shores of Light Project

    Play PDF Score Download/Play (Playing requires Java) Into the Shores of Light

    Press comment on Into the Shores of Light:

    The Glasgow Herald (Michael Tumelty):
    Graham Hair's deliciously eclectic Into the Shores of Light, inspired by the Australian composer's native coastal landscape: another piece which, in its dazzling orchestral palette, and its seductive swirling, Ravel-like rushes of colour, could have an immediate effect in mainstream orchestral programming.

    O Venezia Project

    Funded by the AHRC of the UK


    A complete recording of O Venezia is currently being prepared for CD release. Play Meanwhile, play five excerpts from O Venezia (requires Java)

    Download PDF files of excerpts from this project

    These are excerpts from the three cantatas which comprise Part 1 of the O Venezia project. Parts 2 and 3 will also be included in the CD release.
    Further performances of O Venezia will be given by Boston-based ensemble Tapestry, directed by Laurie Monahan, in 2009 and 2010

    Download articles from the O Venezia project

    Research Projects

    Data Framework Project

    Project to provide an infrastructure for the for the processing, storage and manipulation of musical information and to present this information is a manner which is immediately useful to those involved in (mono-disciplinary and) inter-disciplinary music research.
    The Principal Investigator for this project is Dr Nick Bailey (Glasgow) with myself as Co-Investigator
    Project currently under development.

    The Anatomy of Listening Project
    Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Measurement, Analysis and Interpretation.


    Conference and colloquium series, 2008–2010
    Project currently under development.

    Funded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh



    Current Issues in Music Journal Project

    Co-editors: Dr Ruth Lee Martin (Australian National University) and Dr Linda Kouvaras (Melbourne University)

    PDF file 2007 issue

    PDF file 2010 issue (web version in process of development)

    Musica Scotica: 800 Years of Scottish Music Conferences Project

    Conferences are held each year, on the last Saturday in April

    PDF file Proceedings of the 2004 and 2005 conferences

    Co-editors: Heather Kelsall and Dr Kenneth Elliott

    Australian Modernism and Afterwards Project

    Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) of the UK and by the National Library of Australia (Harold White Fellowship)

    This project gathers together, and is an on-going development of, a number of earlier studies on Australian 20th/21st-century topics:

    Download outputs from this project

    Play Play (Playing requires Java) Gillian Whitehead's Hotspur

    Play Play (Playing requires Java) Gillian Whitehead's Nga Haerenga

    Web versions of the following forthcoming. Definitive versions of these papers will be published following the Australian Modernism Panel at the Musicological Society of Australia Conference, University of Melbourne, December 7/8, 2008:

    The output from this project concerning Don Banks has now split into several separate components:

    Thomas Wilson Project

    Funded by the Chancellor's Fund of Glasgow University

    Notis Musycall Project

    Festschrift for Dr Kenneth Elliott at 75

    Matyas Seiber Project

    Funded by the AHRC of the UK and by the British Academy


    Output from this project has now bifurcated into two separate volumes:

    (1) Matyas Seiber: Four Case Studies
    PDF file Download a PDF file of this volume

    Download PDF files of excerpts from this book

    (2) (forthcoming) The Music of Matyas Seiber.
    This more comprehensive volume will include updated versions of the articles from the volume Matyas Seiber: Four Case Studies plus further studies previously given as conference or colloquium papers, including

    Tonality After Atonality Project

    Under Development

    Gedenkschrift Project for Andrew McCredie

    Project in Memory of the late Professor Andrew McCredie, with Dr Jan Stockigt, University of Melbourne (under development)

    Companion to Recent Scottish Music Project

    Funded by the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland

    PDF File Web version being progressively uploaded as from Nov 16 2007 (recent uploads: May 2009).

    Companion to Scottish Music: Audio Files

    Bogen Project

    Empirical Study of Bowing Techniques in Bartok's Third String Quartet and other works.
    The Principal Investigator for this project is Ms Carola Boehm (Department of Contemporary Arts, Manchester Metropolitan University)
    Co-Investigators: Dr Amanda Bayley (Wolverhampton University), Dr Nick Bailey (Glasgow University: Electronics) and myself.
    Project currently under development.
    Preliminary Paper presented at the DACE "Listening to Music" Study Day on June 14, 2008 (see conference and colloquia listing, above)

    Pierrot Lunaire Project

    Empirical Study of Vocal Techniques in Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire
    The Principal Investigator for this project is Jane Manning (international soprano)
    Co-Investigators: Dr Nick Bailey and Mr Doug McGilvray (Glasgow University: Electronics) and myself.
    Project currently under development.

    Don Banks and Matyas Seiber Project

    Funded by the AHRC of the UK



    Now part of the larger Australian Modernism and Afterwards and Matyas Seiber Projects (see above)
    Download articles from the Don Banks and Matyas Seiber project

    Keith Humble Project

    Funded by the AHRC of the UK



    Now part of the larger Australian Modernism and Afterwards Project (see above)

    Loose Canons Project

    Studies of Australian women composers, deriving from the conference Loose Canons at the Australian National University in 2001. Now part of the larger Australian Modernism and Afterwards Project (see above)

    The Larry Sitsky Festscrift Project

    Studies of one of Australia's principal modernist composers, Larry Sitsky.
    This study is now part of the larger Australian Modernism and Afterwards Project (see above)
    A Festschrift for Professor Sitsky, edited by Dr Alistair Noble, is in preparation, and will appear under the Southern Voices imprint

    After Modernity Project

    An oral history approach to case studies in recent Australian piano, chamber and vocal ensemble/choral music, from 1975.
    This study is now part of the larger Australian Modernism and Afterwards Project (see above)

    Anthology Project

    The Anthology Project assembles papers and scores from various research projects in a single volume (Musical Ideas, Musical Sounds) (second edition)

    PDF file Download Musical Ideas, Musical Sounds (current version)

    Diary of Recent, Current and Forthcoming Research and Composition Activities

    Project Outcome Dates Place
    Montsalvat Residency Additions to
    Transcendental Etudes and Sacred Songbook
    May, 2010 Melbourne
    Pacific Pathways Performance
    Orchestra of Scottish Opera
    cond Derek Clark
    Sept 30, 2009 New Glasgow Harmonies Festival
    The Anatomy of Listening Conference July 13/14,
    2009
    Glasgow University
    Transcendental Concert Studies
    Revised version
    Performances (excerpts)
    Martin Jones
    June 14, 2009 Glasgow University
    Tonality after Atonality Conference Paper August 21-22, 2008 Late Style Conference
    Australian National University, Canberra
    O Venezia Performance April 10, 2008 Glasgow University
    Radford Tunes Performance March 22, 2008 Radford University, Virginia
    Current Issues in Music Journal Issue November, 2007 ANU, Canberra
    Octet with Voices Performances
    Hawthorne Quartet
    August, 2007 Boston
    Octet with Voices Performance
    Edinburgh Quartet
    December, 2006 Glasgow
    Matyas Seiber Conference Paper Sept 27 - Oct 1, 2006 MSA Conference
    UNE, Armidale, Australia
    The Rainbow Serpent Performance
    Orchestra of Scottish Opera
    June 9, 2006 New Glasgow Harmonies Festival
    Glasgow
    Octet with Voices Performance
    Ives Quartet
    April, 2006 San Francisco

    Contact Details

    Centre for Music Technology
    Department of Electronics & Eloectrical Engineering
    Rankine Building
    Oakfield Avenue
    Glasgow
    G12 8LT
    Scotland