Martha Hill Duncan’s passion for music started early, inspired by her mother, who sang and played the piano by ear. She was a member of the first graduating class of the Houston High School for Performing and Visual Arts, (Vocal Music ’74) and earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Composition from the University of Texas at Austin (1979). She is grateful to many inspirational and generous teachers including composers Dr. Donald Grantham and Dr. Sam Dolin and pianists Danielle Martin, Gregory Allen, Dr. Errol Haun, and Trudy Borden.
Since moving from the United States to Canada, many of her compositions, including several song cycles and choral works have been inspired by Canadian landscapes and texts. Some of these works have won awards in the following competitions: The Diana Barnhart American Song Competition (2005), Ruth Watson Henderson Choral Composition Competition (2005) and The NATS Calgary 2009 Art Song Competition. In January 2014, her opera, Searching the Painted Sky, with poet/librettist Janet Windeler Ryan, was premiered at the National Opera Association Convention in New York City by the Youth Opera of El Paso, Texas. In 2020, Hill Duncan was named as a finalist for the 2020 Louis Applebaum Award.
As composer and artistic director of She Sings! Women’s Choir, Hill Duncan has written numerous choral works. Her frequent collaborations with performers, songwriters, poets, artists, choirs and visual artists have led to many new vocal, choral and piano works. Many of her piano compositions have been inspired, at least in part, by her long-time career as a piano teacher. Some of these piano solos, as well as her art songs, appear in the syllabi and/or publications of The Royal Conservatory of Music, Conservatory Canada, Contemporary Showcase Syllabus, and other educational music syllabi.A former piano examiner for the Royal Conservatory of Music, Hill Duncan is also a frequent adjudicator and clinician for music festivals and competitions. She is a member of SOCAN, the American Composers Forum, an associate composer of the Canadian Music Centre, a member of the Association of Canadian Women Composers, and the Canadian Federation of Music Teachers. Hill Duncan is also a founding member and ongoing administrator of Red Leaf Pianoworks, an international self-publishing composers’ collective. Originally from Houston TX, Hill Duncan has lived in Kingston, Ontario with her husband, retired astrophysicist Martin Duncan, since 1988. She has two grown children and two granddaughters. For more information about Martha and her work, including videos and score samples, visit www.marthahillduncan.com