Malcolm Hayes

(1951 - )


Malcolm Hayes was born in 1951 in Marlborough, Wiltshire to English and Scottish parents, with Anglo-Irish ancestry on his mother’s side. He was at the choir school of St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, and read music at Edinburgh University, graduating in 1974. He then lived for several years in Lewis in the Outer Hebridean islands of Scotland, working mainly in the local weaving industry. Since 1982 he has lived and worked in London as a composer, classical music journalist and author.


Faber Music publish Corpus Christi, which received its premiere by the Syred Consort conducted by Ben Palmer. His Stabat Mater for soprano, mezzo-soprano and orchestra (2001) was first performed by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra under Garry Walker in 2002, and marked a return to composing after a break of many years. Odysseus remembers (2004), for narrator, soprano, countertenor, baritone and orchestra, was premiered by the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Edward Gardner at BBC Maida Vale Studios in February 2006.


In December 2009 the first performance of the carol Lullay, mine Liking was given by the Joyful Company of Singers under Peter Broadbent at St Paul’s Church, Covent Garden, London. Other recent choral premieres include the carol Mirabile Misterium, by the Choir of New College, Oxford directed by Edward Higginbottom.


Larger choral works include Alleluia Nativitas, a carol-motet for unaccompanied choir, recorded by the BBC Singers under James Morgan, and broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in December 2007; and The Wild Swans of Coole, a setting of W.B. Yeats’s poem, commissioned by the Syred Consort, and premiered by them under Ben Palmer in April 2010.


Malcolm Hayes has written a biography of Anton von Webern (Phaidon Press, 1995), and was a contributor to the The Messiaen Companion (Faber and Faber, 1995), writing on Messiaen’s earlier choral and orchestral works. His edition of William Walton’s Selected Letters (Faber and Faber, 2002) was published in the composer’s centenary year. He is also the author of 20th-century Music (Heinemann, 2001), a six-part illustrated history for secondary-school readers, covering musicals, jazz, blues and rock besides classical music. He has recently completed a biography of Liszt for Naxos Books, to be published in February 2011.

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