The music of Bernard Hughes has been performed at major venues in Britain and abroad and received a number of broadcasts on BBC Radio 3. A CD of his choral music, I am the Song, was released in 2016 on Signum Classics. Bernard’s music featured on the Horrible Histories film Bill (2015).
Bernard has been commissioned by the BBC Singers, the Crouch End Festival Chorus and Juice Vocal Ensemble receiving performances at the Huddersfield, Spitalfields and City of London Music Festivals, and at venues including St Paul’s Cathedral and Symphony Hall, Birmingham. Major projects include The Death of Balder, a large-scale choral work for the BBC Singers on a Norse myth re-told by the distinguished novelist and scholar Kevin Crossley-Holland; Bernard & Isabel, for narrator and orchestra, premiered at Symphony Hall in Birmingham in December 2010; the children’s opera Chincha-Chancha Cooroo, commissioned and premiered by W11 Opera in London, and the chamber opera Dumbfounded!, based on a short story by the Edwardian writer Saki, premiered at the Tête à Tête Opera Festival in London in August 2008.
Other commissions include I Sing of Love for the Seattle Pro Musica choir and All Across this Jumbl’d Earth for the Three Choirs Festival, both in 2012. 2014 saw a new piece for the experimental vocal trio Juice, premiered at the National Portrait Gallery, and Salve Regina for the Crouch End Festival Chorus. Recent commissions include The Knight Who Took All Day, a new work for narrator and orchestra, a collaboration with Hertford Symphony Orchestra and the artist James Mayhew, and O du Liebe meiner Liebe for pianist William Howard’s Love Songs project. The choral work Two Songs of Spring was premiered at St John’s, Smith Square in March 2019, and other recent performances have included the BBC Symphony Chorus broadcasting Christmas Bells and the chamber choir Londinium reviving A Medieval Bestiary, written for the BBC Singers.
Bernard studied Music at St Catherine’s College, Oxford, graduating with a first-class degree. He subsequently studied composition at Goldsmiths College, London under Peter Dickinson, and privately with Param Vir. He was awarded a PhD in Composition from Royal Holloway College, London, studying with Philip Cashian. He is Composer-in-Residence at St Paul’s Girls’ School in London, and in that capacity has written numerous works including the anthem L’Imagination, premiered at St Paul’s Cathedral, and Gooseberry Fool, released as a charity fundraiser.
Bernard Hughes’s music is published by Wild Woods Music, Novello and Cadenza Music. It has been broadcast on Radio 3 and King FM in Seattle, and he appeared as a conductor on the Channel 4 series Howard Goodall’s Twentieth Century Greats. Bernard writes regularly for theartsdesk.com cultural review website.