Miriam Hyde, pianist

Miriam HYDE (1913-2005) AO OBE was one of the foremost Australian pianists, composers and music educators of the twentieth century.

Born in Adelaide, she graduated with MusBac at the age of 18, and won the Elder Overseas Scholarship to the Royal College of Music, London, where she studied piano and composition, 1932-35. She gained prizes for composition, and performed her two piano concertos with major London orchestras.

Soon after returning to Adelaide in 1936, she moved to Sydney, where she remained and became busy as a pianist, composer, teacher, examiner, lecturer and writer of numerous articles and analyses for music journals. She was instrumental in the foundation of the Fellowship of Australian Composers, was an active long-time member of the Advisory Board of the AMEB (Australian Music Examinations Board) and the Council of the Music Teachers' Association of NSW, of which she was made Patron.

In her lifetime, she was known chiefly as a writer of piano pieces used by students. Commercial publishers were little interested in works that they deemed "difficult" and might not sell well. However, her output was far broader and prolific - chamber music for most string and woodwind instruments, orchestral (two concertos, four overtures and others), over 50 songs and some choral works. It was not until the late 1990s, following the recording of two CDs of most of her chamber music, that it was then published by The Keys Press, followed by many of her advanced piano solos. After her death in 2005, her daughter Christine Edwards continued to make her output accessible by collaborating with The Keys Press to publish her String Quartet in E minor and dozens more piano solos, and with Wirripang to publish her 40 art songs, Christmas Carols and some piano pieces.

Wirripang has issued several CDs of Miriam Hyde’s music – Fire in My Heart, a selection of songs (Wendy Dixon soprano, David Miller, piano); The Ring of New Bells, including the Piano Sonata (John Martin, piano); Miriam Hyde Piano Concertos (Miriam Hyde, piano),  a selection of piano works Piano Imagery and Reflected Reeds (Miriam Hyde, piano).

The compositional style of Miriam Hyde may be described as "romantic-impressionist". Always sincere, she made no attempt to belong to the avant garde.

Her major literary work was her autobiography, Complete Accord (Currency Press, 1991). She wrote almost 500 poems, 15 of which she used in her own songs.

She married Marcus Edwards in 1939, and had two children. Despite her multi-faceted musical activities until the age of 90, her family were always her first priority and deepest joy.

CDs performed by Miriam Hyde:

Valley of Rocks

Piano Imagery

Reflected Reeds

Miriam Hyde Piano Concertos