Jim Hiscott was born in 1948 in St. Catharines, Ontario. In 1971, after earning a Master’s Degree in Theoretical Particle Physics, he switched to music composition, studying with Samuel Dolin at the Royal Conservatory of Music and David Lidov and Richard Teitelbaum at York University. He is the recipient of the Creative Arts Award of the Canadian Federation of University Women. His compositions have been performed across North America, in Europe and Asia by many artists including the Hilliard Ensemble, the St. Lawrence String Quartet, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the Vancouver New Music Society ensemble, Rivka Golani, James Campbell, Arraymusic, and Philadelphia’s Relâche.
Jim Hiscott has performed his own works for button accordion in the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra’s New Music Festival, the Vancouver New Music Society series, Toronto’s Big Squeeze Festival, and on the main stage of the Vancouver Folk Music Festival. He has appeared as button accordion soloist with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the Niagara Symphony, and the New Orchestra of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. In 2019 he performed his composition BLUE OCEAN in the Festival of the Sound in Parry Sound, Ontario, with James Campbell, clarinet, Martin Roscoe, piano, and Paul Marleyn, cello.
Recent premieres of music by Jim Hiscott include SWEET ADON for soprano, flute, clarinet (& b.cl.), trumpet, percussion, violin, and cello (Brigitte Peyré, soprano, Ensemble Télémaque conducted by Raoul Lay); TURNING for piano quartet (Winnipeg Chamber Music Society: Gwen Hoebig, Karl Stobbe, Yuri Hooker, David Moroz); THE MILKY DUST OF STARS for soprano and cello (Sarah Kirsch and Yuri Hooker); WATER CIRCLE for traditional fiddle ensemble and string orchestra (The Frontier Fiddlers and the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, led by Karl Stobbe); IQALUIT RIVER for flutes (bass and C-flute), clarinet, percussion, violin, viola, cello and bass (Derek Charke, Micah Heilbrunn, Victoria Sparks, Karl Stobbe, Elise Lavallée, Leana Rutt, and Meredith Johnson); QUINTET FOR ZHENG AND STRING QUARTET (Geling Jiang, Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra String Quartet); AL PARADISO for bass clarinet, violin and SATB choir (Lori Freedman, Karl Stobbe, Canzona, cond. Henry Engbrecht), FAR HEAVENS for chromatic dizi and string orchestra (Xiao-Nan Wang with the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, cond. Judith Yan); CAÑA for Latin ensemble, string trio and button accordion (Papa Mambo Ensemble, Mary Lawton, Elise Lavallée, Emma Quackenbush and Jim Hiscott); CANTU for orchestra (WSO, cond. Alexander Mickelthwate), PATER NOSTER for SATB choir (Camerata Nova, cond. Mel Braun); AFTER SORROW for string trio (Karl Stobbe, Elise Lavallée and Emma Quackenbush); TANGLE for oboe, double bass, percussion (Caitlin Broms-Jacobs, Meredith Johnson and Ben Reimer), SPIRAL for two violas (Daniel and Michael Scholz); I SPOKE TO NO ONE… for chamber ensemble (GroundSwell Ensemble cond. Earl Stafford); THE SONG OF THE STARS for soprano and string orchestra (Maria-Luz Alvarez with the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, cond. Scott Yoo); MANIMASII AURA for two-row button accordion and chamber ensemble (Simeonie Keenainak with the CBC Radio Orchestra, cond. Alain Trudel; and BEATING HEART for violin and button accordion soli with chamber orchestra (Atis Bankas, Jim Hiscott, and the Orchestra of St. Mark’s, led by Daniel Swift).
STRING QUARTET #2 from his CBC Records CD “Blue Ocean / Music of Jim Hiscott” was nominated for Outstanding Classical Composition at the 2004 Western Canadian Music Awards.
Photo (c) Jon Snidal
Works in Paramirabo's repertoire
The Sun and the Moon (1999)