- Hugh Dixon
- Born: 1927
- Fully Represented SOUNZ Composer
Hugh Dixon was born in Sydney in 1927 and from the age of 12 (1940) he has lived in New Zealand with the exception of a stay of almost two years (1977-79) teaching in Sydney. Hugh was educated at Hutt Valley High School where he received his first musical experience in the school brass band beginning on tenor horn and then on cornet and later, trumpet.
Hugh has obtained M.Mus. (hons.) degree from the University of Auckland in 1968. Previously, studied science and music at Victoria University of Wellington (1945-49) and music at Canterbury University of Christchurch (1960-61). His other qualifications include: Diploma of Teaching from the Wellington Teachers’ College (1950) ; L.R.S.M. (1958), F.T.C.L. (1975) – both on trumpet performance.
Primary school teacher for one year; Hugh also worked for builder in Leamington, Cambridge and built his house (1952-56); he was a secondary teacher of music and general science nine years (from 1957); a teacher of brass instruments for the Auckland Education Board twenty years; a part-time private teacher of brass instruments and music theory eighteen years. He was also a part-time professional trumpet player for seven years (1965-71) in the Symphonia of Auckland (now Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra).
In 1967 Hugh Dixon founded the Auckland Youth Symphonic Band (AYSB) and conducting it for 10 years (before moving to Sydney for 2 years). This was the first band of its kind in New Zealand – the only other wind band at that time being the NZ Navy Band. The group expanded in numbers (over 80) and in 1973 it was found necessary to form two divisions – a junior and senior. They still flourish, but the senior division is now called the Auckland Wind Orchestra (AWO).
Hugh Dixon was a tutor and conductor at the annual National Secondary Schools Orchestral Holiday Courses under the auspices of the Education Board for twenty years. He was the founder/conductor of the Phoenix Wind Ensemble (1982- 87) – later re-named Auckland Concert Band, but it no longer in existence. Hugh has organised numerous chamber music concerts and conducted during this period. He was the conductor of the wind ensembles at the Cambridge Music Schools 1982-84 and South Auckland Choral Society and orchestra in Handel’s Messiah 1982. Conducted a season of 31 performances of “The Mikado” at the Mercury Theatre, Auckland 1987, and the St. Matthew Chamber Orchestra’s three Summer Concerts 1987-89. It was in the 1987 summer concert that Hugh’s work Song Celestial (in 3 movements for soprano and chamber orchestra) was performed with the composer’s daughter, Wendy, in the singing role.
Hugh Dixon became member of the Composer’s Federation of New Zealand and of the Fellowship of Australian Composers (2003) but has not kept up their subs. Still a Member of APRA (since 1983), he was listed in New Zealand Who’s Who Aotearoa 1994 Edition.
Up until retirement from teaching, composing was spread thinly over the years – “busy with other things!” From 1988 Hugh held positions in The Theosophical Society (TS) of New Zealand, namely, National Lecturer, National Vice-President, National President (1993-95). For many years a student of Eastern and Western philosophies, Hugh also lectured at the various branches throughout NZ up until about 2004. As well, Hugh lectured in T.S. Branches in five Australian cities (several times in Brisbane and Sydney), and once in a TS Convention in India (Chennai, previously called Madras), and at a TS convention in Brasilia. He was also the Editor of the Society’s quarterly magazine Theosophy in New Zealand for six years until 2006.Source: Hugh Dixon, May 2011