Scottish Voices

Director & Administrator

Graham Hair, Director

Graham Hair has been director of Scottish Voices since 1991.  Graham is principally a composer and director of Scottish Voices, but also undertaken many research projects, often with international collaborators. He held posts at Adelaide University in the 1960s, at LaTrobe University, Melbourne, 1975-80, was Head of Composition, at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, 1980-90, and Professor of Music, Glasgow University 1990-2008.

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

In the UK he is Professor Emeritus of Glasgow University’s Music Department and Research Fellow of its Science and Music Research Group (School of Engineering). He was for several years (2009-2012) also Visiting Professor of Manchester Metropolitan University’s Department of Contemporary Arts.

In the United States he conducts composer-residencies and concerts and records vocal chamber music. In 2009, he directed Scottish Voices on tour in Maryland, Delaware and Virginia.  In 2011, he returned to Virginia with Scottish Voices and recorded tracks for the CD Music of Three Continents, issued in the US by Ravello Records in 2012. In 2019, he returned again to the US with Scottish Voices for concerts and recordings in Virginia and Boston, and recorded tracks for the CD Crossing Musical Frontiers, to be issued by Ravello in 2020.

In Australia, he was Adjunct Professor at Monash University in Melbourne 1999-2005 and Adjunct Professor at the Australian National University in Canberra in 2006-2007, as well as Co-Investigator — with Associate Prof Greg Schiemer (University of Wollongong) — on a research project on microtonal music funded by the Australian Research Council.

Performances of his music have been given in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Stirling, Inverness, Manchester, London, Boston, San Francisco,  Virginia, Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney, and many other places. He is currently undertaking commissions for Clemens Leske (pianist, Sydney Conservatorium and the Astra Choir (Melbourne).

Current recordings in progress, include, as well as the several Scottish Voices recordings for Ravello, a CD of microtonal music (including his own Sufi Fragments and Sufi Miniatures) for the Tall Poppies label (Sydney) and a CD of his complete piano music, by pianist Martin Jones for the Nimbus label (UK).

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

Naming the Stars

Press comment on Naming the Stars: (Larry Bartleet):
Each member of the trio had a solo piece. “Naming the Stars”, Higuma’s solo, was fantastic; ethereal and elegant, it floated along and filled the church with its delicate melody.

Snatched Voices
Epiphany of Light
Rainbow Lorikeets
Unearthing the Earth
Boy with Flute
Red Autumn in Valvins
Wild Cherries and Honeycomb
Dances and Devilment and Sunlit Airs
Under Aldebaran
Tch’mala: The Rainbow Serpent
Meaasures of Fire

A complete recording of the Transcendental Concert Studies, by Martin Jones, will be released in 2020.

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

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:

Yigdal (in Hebrew)
Asma al-Husna (in Arabic)
Veni Creator (in Latin)
Ecstasy and Enlightenment: a sequence (for SSAA and string quartet) based on the Mystical Islamic poetry of Jelaluddin Rumi, in the elegant Edwardian (1903) translations of Glasgow theologian William Hastie (based in turn on the German versions of Friedrich Ruckert).

Funded by the Scottish Arts Council

American Waltzes Project

Five paraphrases of American popular songs for SAA soloists and piano

Can’t help singing (Jerome Kern)
Won’t you buy my dreams of love (Vernon Duke)
By Strauss (George Gershwin)
Just One Way (Irving Berlin)
Out of my dreams (Richard Rodgers)

Church Music Projects

Composed for:
Glasgow University Chapel Choir, cond Stuart Campbell
Astra Chamber Choir (Melbourne), cond John McCaughey

Hymn to St Peter
Nunc Dimittis
Dancing, Piping, Drumming (carol)
O Fiery Spirit (anthem)
Psalm 23

Vernacular Paraphrases Project

Paraphrases of American popular songs for SAA and piano.
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (Harold Arlen)

Microtonal Project

Funded by the AHRC of the UK

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.
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).

Australian Fellowship Projects

Funded by the Australia Council; Project begun in 2003-2005, extended to 2007

Frenzy and Folly, Fire and Joy
A Wind Symphony
Harmonice Mundi

A performance of Frenzy and Folly, Fire and Joy, by clarinettist Murray Khouri, was video-recorded in the Glasgow University Chapel in 2010.

Lament for Santa Sophia Project

Chorus and Electro-acoustic Sound.  Commissioned by Cappella Nova Choir (Glasgow), cond Alan Tavener

Funded by the Scottish Arts Council

Recorded by the Astra Chamber Choir (Melbourne), April 2008 and by Scottish Voices in 2018

Great Circle Project

 Symphony for Voices and Orchestra; chamber version for voices, pianos and percussion

Part 1: Into the South
Part 2: The Flow of Occurence

Funded by the AHRC of the UK


Funded by the Scottish Arts Council 

Into the Shores of Light Project

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.
Cantata 1 (Star of the Sea)
Cantata 2 (Waters Richer than Glass)
Cantata 3 (To Work, To Meditate, To Warn)

Presentations at Conferences and Colloquia

Ideas and Outputs (including performances) generated by various research projects have been presented at conferences and colloquia in many different places. Selected conferences and colloquia include:

Monash University, Melbourne (Conference on British Music): Matyas Seiber’s Late Music: Between British and Central European Cultures, Between Developing Variation and Constructivism, Sept 17-19, 2010

Sheffield University, UK (Sixth Conference on Interdisciplinary Musicology): Consonance and Dissonance in Music Theory and Music Psychology, July 23-24, 2010

The Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester: Empiricism and Listening: Remarks on the Relationship between Measurement, Analysis and Interpretation, March 19, 2010

Auckland University, New Zealand (Second International Symposium on Performance Science): Taking Microtonal Composition and Performance from the Periphery into the Mainstream, , December 15-18, 2009

The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK (“Listening, Audiences and Participation” Colloquium): Empiricism and Listening: Remarks on the Relationship between Measurement, Analysis and Interpretation, November 16-17, 2009

The University of Newcastle, Australia (32nd Annual Conference of the Musicological Society of Australia): Keith Humble’s “Poèmes”: A Choral Bridge between French Surrealist Literature and Modernism in Australian Music, September 26-29, 2009 (Presentation funded by the British Academy)

The Australian National University (School of Music Research Conference): “Reconstructive” Postmodernism, September 12-13, 2009

Pluscarden Abbey, Morayshire, Scotland (Conference on Sacred Music in Scotland): Thomas Wilson’s Sacred Music and Sacred Songbook: A Project for the Twenty-first Century, September 3-5, 2009

Sydney Australia (The Australasian Piano Pedagogy Conference): An introduction to my “Twelve Transcendental Concert Studies on Themes from the Australian Poets”, July 17-18, 2009

Glasgow University (“The Anatomy of Listening” Colloquium): Listening Carefully to “Mondestrunken” and “Galgenlied”, with Dr Jane Manning (Kingston University) and Ben Hillman (Glasgow University), June 13/14, 2009 (Presentation funded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh)

Royal College of Music, London (Grove Forum): Empirical Studies of Musical Performance: Measurement, Analysis & Interpretation, January 15, 2009

University of Melbourne (31st Annual Conference of the Musicological Society of Australia): Keith Humble’s Modernism: From Homogenous Motivic-thematic Organicism to Heterogenous Gestural Constructivism, December 6, 2008
Humanities Research Centre, Australian National University, Canberra (Late Style: Conference):Schoenberg’s “Kol Nidre”, August 21/22, 2008

Queen’s University, Belfast (2008 International Computer Music Conference): The Rosegarden Codicil: Rehearsing Music in Nineteen-Tone Equal Temperament, August 27, 2008

Aristotle University, Thessaloniki: Fourth Conference on Interdisciplinary Musicology, July 2008

Glasgow University: Department of Adult and Continuing Education (DACE) Study Day, June 14, 2008

Aberdeen University, Department of Music, February 1, 2008

Stirling University, Department of Psychology (Scottish Perception Day): All in the Mind: Perceiving and Interpreting the Musical Structure of The Harmonious Blacksmith, December 2007

Napier University, Edinburgh: Department of Music, November 7, 2007

Boston College: Department of Music, October 2007

Radford University, Virginia: Departments of Music, Psychology and Appalachian Studies (3 different colloquia), April 2007

Stirling University, Department of Psychology (Scottish Perception Day): Thinking and Performing Microtonally: Rehearsal Strategies in 19ET using the Rosegarden Codicil, December 2006

Queen Mary College, University of London: Digital Music Research Network Conference, December 2006m

Edinburgh University: Department of Music: Bringing the Marginal into the Mainstream: Overcoming the Problems of Thinking, Composing and Performing Microtonally, November 2006

University of New England, Armidale, Australia: Musicological Society of Australia Conference, September 2006
Royal College of Music, London: Rehearsing Microtonal Music, 18 May 200

Monash University, Melbourne (Conference on British Music): Matyas Seiber’s Late Music: Between British and Central European Cultures, Between Developing Variation and Constructivism, Sept 17-19, 2010

Royal Scottish Academy of Music & Drama: Between Hardware and Protein: Pig in the Middle, 18 February 2006

Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne, Australia, September 2005 and September 2006

Boston University School of Music, 2004

Monash University, Melbourne, Australia: Symposium of the International Musicological Society, July 2004 (Presentation funded by the British Academy)

Australian National University School of Music, 2004

Birmingham University, Stratford Study Centre: British Music Study Day, May 2003

Kingston University, London: School of Music Rhythmic Levels in Matyas Seiber: Tonal, Intervallic and Gestural Turnover, 12 February, 2003

King’s College, University of London: Music Department: Tonality and Atonality in Matyas Seiber, 25 February, 2002

Anne Cumberland, Administrator

Since graduating with a music degree, Anne has worked with the London Sinfonietta, the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and currently with the University of Glasgow.

She has a particular interest in promoting new music and working with contemporary composers. During the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow she received a Creative & Cultural Silver Medal award for her sports-themed series of concerts which included pieces for string quartet and 4 table tennis players, upturned bikes and a performance of Maurizio Kagel’s Eine Brise for 111 Cyclists.

More recently she has commissioned Scottish composer Tom Harrold to write a new choral work to commemorate the centenary of the end of WWI, and is currently working on a Kagel project with the Canadian Bozzini Quartet. In her down time, Anne goes to lots of concerts and enjoys wine and sports.