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Hugh Dixon


Born: 1927


Hugh Dixon was born in Sydney in 1927. Since the age of 12 he has lived in New Zealand, with the exception of a stay of almost two years in Sydney between 1977-79. Educated at Hutt Valley High School, Hugh received his first musical experience in the school brass band, beginning on tenor horn, then on cornet and later, trumpet.

Hugh obtained an MMus (Hons) degree from the University of Auckland in 1968. Previously he had studied science and music at Victoria University of Wellington and music at Canterbury University of Christchurch. His other qualifications include: Diploma of Teaching from the Wellington Teachers’ College; L.R.S.M; F.T.C.L. – both on trumpet performance. 

A primary school teacher for a year; Hugh also worked for a builder in Leamington, Cambridge where he built his house; he was a secondary teacher of music and general science nine years; 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 in the Symphonia of Auckland (now Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra).

In 1967 Hugh founded the Auckland Youth Symphonic Band (AYSB) and conducted it for 10 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 (later re-named Auckland Concert Band)5. Hugh organised numerous chamber music concerts and also 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, 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. 

Composed (49)

A Cantilena for Two

for soprano, horn and piano, 4m

A Little Lovely Dream

for mezzo-soprano and piano, 2m

Australiana - Folksong Frolic

for wind octet, 3m

Canto Fermo

for brass quintet, 6m


for trombone and concert band, 13m

Dream Odyssey

for concert band, 8m

Dream Odyssey

for horn quartet, 8m


for clarinet and bassoon, 2m


for brass (11 players), timpani and snare drum, 2m

Five Shakespeare Songs

for mezzo-soprano and piano, 13m

Homage to Sibelius

for orchestra, 7m

Horses on the Camargue

for soprano, horn and piano, 9m

Horses on the Camargue

for concert band, 9m

Into the Silent Valley

for flute, violin, horn and cello, 6m

It Takes Three to Tango

for string trio, 2m 25s

Lyric Sketches

for flute, violin, horn and cello, 21m


for wind octet, 11m

My Cathedral

for SSA choir and orchestra, 7m

My True Love Hath My Heart

for soprano and piano, 2m

Mystic Vision

for soprano, tenor, flute and piano, 11m


for soprano and horn, 12m


for flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon and horn, 15m

Raga Rewa

for flute, violin, cello (or horn) and tabla, 20m


for clarinet and piano, 5m

Sacred Space

for flute, violin, horn and cello

Scenes from Nature

for flute, violin, viola and cello

Song Celestial

for soprano, dancers and chamber ensemble, 20m

Song of Sea-Gull

for flute and string orchestra

Songs of Mystic Jade

for soprano and piano

String Quartet No. 3 - Such is Life

for string quartet, 22m

String Quartet No. 4 - A Lute of Jade

for string quartet, 17m

Such is Life

for flute, violin, horn and cello, 22m

Symphony for Concert Band

for concert band, 20m

The Blue Wrens and the Butcher-bird

for soprano and piano, 5m

The Enchanted Garden

for string orchestra, 8m

The Enchanted Garden

for flute, violin, viola (or horn) and cello, 9m

The Fire Raga

for flute, violin, horn and cello, 20m

The Mysterious Call of the Sea

for soprano and piano, 14m

The Poet's Song

for SATB choir and piano, 5m 15s

Tiger! Tiger!

for soprano and two horns, 3m 20s

To the Moon and Tears

for soprano, tenor and horn, 3m


for violin, horn and piano, 21m 30s

Two Fanfares for Beginner Trumpeters

for three trumpets, 1m

Undertow at Oakura

for orchestra, 30m

Wandering Companionless

for soprano, horn and cello

Recordings (1)