1997, 26 Minutes
Born in 1913, Miriam Hyde was a young pianist and composer at a time when women were rare in the field, so much so that she considered (but rejected) the idea of using a male nom de plume for her works. Despite the hurdles that were put in her way, hard work and years of struggle led to eventual recognition by her peers.
Her mother was a musician and by the age of four, the young Miriam was sitting at the piano composing her own music. After studying at the Adelaide Conservatorium, in 1932 Hyde won the Elder Scholarship to the Royal College of Music in London for three years study. In England she developed her technique as both a pianist and composer, but she overreached herself and a ‘nervous breakdown’ forced her to slow down. Nonetheless these difficult times saw the genesis of the slow movement of her Second Piano Concerto, one of her major works.
At 23, Miriam returned to Australia and later married Marcus Edwards with whom she had two children.
Hyde continued writing, composing, performing and teaching throughout her long life. Her distinctive musical voice, one ‘free of trends and fashions’, evoked the Australian landscape, its bird life and waterways.
Miriam Hyde was a virtuoso pianist; one of Australia’s leading teachers of music; and a composer of a substantial body of work, notably for the piano. She wrote several volumes of poetry and an autobiography, Complete Accord.
In 1981 Miriam was awarded an OBE, and in 1991 she was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO).
A Film Australia National Interest Program. © 2011 National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.
Producers/Directors: Robin Hughes, Linda Kruger
Running Time: 26 Minutes
Curriculum Links: Music; Composition and Musicology; Music, Culture and Society; Performing Arts; Performance/Improvisation.