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Born in Yorkshire in 1945, Vic Hoyland's earliest interests were painting, calligraphy and architecture, but after completing an Arts degree at Hull University, he decided to concentrate on music. He undertook a doctorate at York University where his tutors were Robert Sherlaw Johnson and Bernard Rands. From 1980-1983 he was Haywood Fellow at Birmingham University; then after two years at York University he returned to the music department at Birmingham as senior lecturer. He was subsequently Professor in Composition at Birmingham until his retirement in 2011.
Commissions have come from many festivals – Aldeburgh, Almeida, Bath, Cheltenham, Huddersfield, South Bank and York – from organisations such as the BBC Symphony Orchestra and groups such as Lontano, the Arditti Quartet, Lindsay Quartet, BCMG, Endymion and Vocem. Works include Vixen for large orchestra which, together with In Transit, was recorded by the BBC Symphony Orchestra for NMC Records. Much of Vic Hoyland's music has been broadcast on BBC Radio 3. The second work in his orchestral triptych, Qibti, was premièred at the Barbican on 18 December 2003. His piece for flute and piano, Sicilian Vespas was written in 2006 and first performed at Stratford Music Festival. May 2008 saw the premiere of Pierrot, a tribute to Pierre Boulez. On 3 June 2009 Token was premiered by the Endymion Ensemble at King's Place. The third and final part of Vic's orchestral triptych, Phoenix, was premièred on 28 January 2009, by the BBC Symphony Orchestra, with a live broadcast on BBC Radio 3. Hey Presto!, for 10 players, was given its world premiere by the BCMG, conducted by Diego Masson, on 16 October 2009 at the CBSO Centre, Birmingham.
“...one of the most distinctive voices of his generation in British music... Hoyland studied at York University in the late 1960s and early 1970s. There his main composition teacher was Bernard Rands, and it was Rands' enthusiasms for all things Italian (Rands had been taught by Dallapiccola and Berio) that left the most indelible impression on Hoyland's music. Other composers went into the stylistic blender as well – diverse influences like Satie, Stravinsky, Feldman – but it was the music of Berio and Donatoni especially that shaped his music most tellingly. Yet from the start all these ingredients were integrated into a highly personal language. Hoyland's music has always been modernist rather than post-modern, and, though his preoccupations have changed – in the early 1980s he was fascinated by music theatre, more recently he has concentrated on abstract instrumental works – its unforbidding rigour and sonorous beauty have been constants.” – Andrew Clements, The Guardian, on In Transit / Vixen, CD of the Week