Composer of the month -Martha Hill Duncan

Continuing on the my series, the composer for November is…Martha Hill Duncan!


Martha is from Texas, and moved to Canada in 1982. She currently resides in Kingston, ON. I met Martha for the first time in 2015 at the Summer Sizzle Conference held in Mount Forest, ON. She is very friendly and down-to-earth, and loves to share her music. She is a founding member of Red Leaf Pianoworks, a composer’s collective for new piano repertoire. Many of her award-winning choral and vocal works have been performed in North America. Her piano compositions can be found in the syllabi of the Royal Conservatory of Music, Conservatory Canada, and CNCM (Canadian National Conservatory of Music).

Popular Pieces

Level 5: Water Lilies

This evokes for me the feeling of a languishing summer afternoon at the cottage, sitting by the lake, watching the dragonflies and the water lilies gently bobbing in the ripples.


Level 8: The War Memorial for Solo Piano 

I first heard this piece performed at a presentation of Red Leaf Pianoworks music. I loved the large, sonorous chords and what sounds like tolling bells.


Level 9: Santa Ana Winds

Listen for steady, rapidly moving figures, imitating the winds; sometimes turbulent and insistent and at other times, quiet and almost hesitant.


Level 10: The Japanese Tea Garden

Often dissonant and “scary” sounding, this piece introduces us an example of 21st century piano music. Although some may find this difficult to listen to at first, the more you listen to it, the more you find melodies woven into the music. Notice how she uses the very low and high registers. The music starts steadily and grows in intensity several times, ending quieter and almost abruptly.


L to R: John Burge, Martha Hill Duncan, Susan Greisdale

Published by hannahannika

Piano Teacher

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