Updated, Sept, 2020

MARTHA HILL DUNCAN, Composer, Conductor, Music Educator

Born: Pasadena Texas, October 28, 1955

Immigrated to Canada 1982, Canadian Citizen since 2010 

Resident of Kingston, Ontario since 1988


1979 Graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Music in Composition with Piano as Principle Instrument

1974 Graduated from The High School for Performing and Visual Arts, Houston, Texas -  Diploma in Vocal Music

Composition studies:

1983 - 1987 Dr. Samuel Dolin, Toronto, Ontario

1980 - 1982 Dr. Robert Palmer, Ithaca, New York

1976 - 1979 Dr. Donald Grantham at The University of Texas at Austin       

Piano studies:

1979 - 1982    Ms. Trudy Borden, Ithaca, New York      

1976 - 1979 Mr. Gregory Allen, Ms. Danielle Martin and Dr. Errol Haun at The University of Texas at Austin



2020 Nominated for the 2020 Louis Applebaum Award

2020 Several piano duets and trios chosen for the National Federation of Music Clubs Bulletin (US) 2016-2020

2019 The River for solo piano included in the London College of Music Diploma Syllabus

2019 Fourteen songs from Searching the Painted Sky, Summer, How Will the Rain Fall?, Saskatchewan Songs and Singing in the Northland, Vol. 1 & 2 included in the Royal Conservatory of Music Voice Publications and Syllabus

2016 Sandcastles piano solo included in National Federation of Music Clubs Bulletin (US) 2016-2020

2015 Nine piano solos from Cottage Days, Limestone Etchings, Isla Vista Suite and The Sunken Garden included in the Royal Conservatory of Music Piano Publications and Syllabus

2009 Nightlights: Winner of The NATS Calgary 2009 Art Song Competition, Level 7

2009 Maple Dust:  Winner of CFMTA Vocal Writing Competition, Level 5-6

2006 Star Prayers for SSA and Piano: Winner of 2005 Ruth Watson Henderson Choral Composition Competition for Children’s Choir

2006 The first year of many years of inclusion of solo piano repertoire in the Northern Lights graded piano series of the Canadian National Conservatory of Music

2005 Rainfall – 3rd Prize, Grey Rocks and Greyer Seas – 3rd Prize and Severance - Honorable Mention in The Diana Barnhart American Song Competition  

1999 Big Island Suite for 2 Violins, Cello & Piano shared 1st prize in Canada-wide Studea Musica competition inspiring new music for young string players

1996 Santa Ana Winds  for piano, chosen for inclusion in CFMTA Diamond Jubilee Collection. 

1985  Fiveplay for Brass Quintet selected by jury for performance through Canadian Contemporary Music Workshop - Toronto.

1985 Tribute for Baritone, Soprano, Woodwind Quintet and Percussion selected by jury and premiered through Canadian Contemporary Music Workshop – Toronto

1984 Recipient of Scholarship from Royal Conservatory of Music to study with Dr. Sam Dolin

1979 Fiveplay for Brass Quintet awarded Honourable Mention in Victor Herbert/ASCAP Competition (U.S.)


2017, September: Featured composer, CNCM Composer and Kids, Boissevain, MB

2016, Fall: Guest Conductor for Open Voices Community Choir, Kingston

2015, July 31: Conducted Canadian premiere of youth opera, Searching the Painted Sky, Toronto, ON, A Canadian Creation for South of the Border Kids

2007 – Present: Co-founder and administrator for Red Leaf Pianoworks, a self-publishing composers’collective

2007 - 2018: Member, College of Examiners, The Royal Conservatory of Music 

2004 – Present: Artistic Director,  She Sings! Women’s Choir, Kingston, ON

2001 – Present: Piano and composition adjudicator for various festivals around Canada and US

2000 – Present:  Produced a CD for Aurora Women’s Choir, two CDs for She Sings! Women’s Choir and two CDs highlighting the music of Martha Hill Duncan: Images in Sound (solo piano repertoire) and Singing in the Northland, Canadian Poetry in Song with soprano Elizabeth McDonald, mezzo Marion Newman and pianist Kathryn Tremills

1999 – 2008: Faculty Member of Suzuki Summer Music-Fest, Kingston, ON

1979 - Present: Composer and private piano teacher 




2019 The Joyful Season for SSAB and Brass Choir with poet Janet Windeler Ryan for She Sings! Women’s Choir, The Kingston Youth Choir and BrassWerks Chamber Ensemble

2017 Lady’s Slipper with poet Carol Chitovas for She Sings! Women’s Choir with fiddler/singer Kelli Trottier 

2016 Waltz for a Friday Evening for SATB, accordion and piano with poet Janet Windeler Ryan for Open Voices Community Choir

2016 Sunset Song for 2016 TMEA Region 22 Middle School All-Region Choir, El Paso, Tx 

2014 Step to the Fiddle commissioned for Jr. Choir through Graphite Publishing’s 2nd annual Consortium Project

2013 Grateful for The Kingston Townsmen Chorus and She Sings! Women’s Choir

2008 - Present: Numerous choral works for Aurora and She Sings! Women’s Choir including Song of the Stars, Songs of Tekahionwake, She Marries A Violinist, Prairie Lily and This Girl Danced Spring. 

2006 Star Prayers for SSA & and Piano: Co-Winner of 2005 Ruth Watson Henderson Choral Composition for Children’s Choir

2001 The Dustman commissioned by Young Choristers Limestone, Kingston, Ontario



2014 Searching the Painted Sky with librettist Janet Windeler Ryan for Youth Opera of El Paso – a one hour original youth opera premiered January 11,  2014 in NYC at the National Opera Association Convention (US). The Canadian premiere was in 2015 in Toronto, Ontario.



2020 Something’s Fishy, a commissioned piano piece for Abundant Silence Publishing

2019 A Season of Sensations for Medium and High Voice – a new soprano song cycle commissioned through Graphite Publishing Art Song Consortium

2018 Clear Shining Moment with poet Janet Windeler Ryan for soprano Molly Luhta for Alzheimer Society fundraising concert with She Sings! Women’s Choir

2017 The Lion’s Tale piano collection for early readers, in collaboration with piano pedagogue,  Tenley Dyck,  of the Canadian National Conservatory of Music’s Composers and Kids programme

2011 Florals, a song cycle of 5 songs for soprano Elizabeth McDonald – various poets

2011 Four by Four for young Kingston ensemble: piano duet, violin and cello

2010 Saskatchewan Songs with mezzo-soprano and poet Bonnie Cutsforth-Huber, Premiered at Penn State, Altoona, academic article on this in Journal of Singing

2010 Who is She? – a song for Ban Righ Association, fundraiser for celebrating special women,  Queen’s University, Kingston, ON

2010 Searching the Painted Sky, imaginative art songs for developing voice and piano with poet Janet   Windeler Ryan 

2010 Summer, art songs for developing voice and piano with poet Linda Jacques

1999 - 2002 Singing in the Northland Vol. 1 & Vol. 2, celebrating Canadian poetry with contemporary songs for young singers. In consultation with voice teacher and choral conductor, Dr. Nadia Izbitskaya 

1994 The Sunken Garden, a three movement piano work commissioned by Mexican-Canadian Pianist, Jorge Suarez



2020 Created educational videos on contemporary composition for Abundant Silence Publishing

2017 Mini-talks/workshops for young student composers, Festival for Creative Pianists, Denver, Colorado

2017 Climate Controlled Composing - an educational video for Colorado Composes 

2016 When the Piano Sings, ORMTA Convention, Chatham, ON

2016 When the Piano Sings, Festival for Creative Pianists, Denver, Colorado

2015 From Ordinary to Extraordinary: Nurturing and Developing the Artist – Musician’s Society of Denver, Colorado

2014 Breaking Into Song: The Thrill of Setting Text to Music Queen’s University , Kingston, Ontario

2013 The Art of Art Song Writing Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas 

2011 From Ordinary to Extraordinary - Summer Sizzle, Palmerston, ON 

2011 The Composer’s Perspective  - CFMTA Convention, Regina, SK

2011 Turning Over A New Leaf - CFMTA Convention, Regina SK

2010 Finding My Voice - SRMTA Convention, Saskatoon

2008 Images in Sound – Wolfville, Nova Scotia

2008 Trials of a Piano Teacher: My Life On The Bench - NSMTA Conference Halifax 

FESTIVAL ADJUDICATING (Piano and Composition):

2001 – Present

Ontario Festivals: Owen Sound, Quinte, Brampton, Peel, Davenport, Windsor-Essex, Stirling, Timmins, Burlington, North York, Chatham Kent, Haliburton, Kingston, Ottawa

Canada-wide: Calgary, AB, Carbonear, NFL, Regina, SK, Saskatoon, SK

Various Provincial and National Registered Music Teacher’s Writing Competitions

Denver, Colorado: Festival for Creative Pianists, Composition Adjudicator



Abundant Silence Publishing, Cypress Choral Music, Graphite Publishing, Red Leaf Pianoworks



American Composers Federation

Association of Canadian Women Composers

Associate Member of the Canadian Music Centre

Canadian Federation of Music Teachers

Canadian Music Centre