Composer Abigail Richardson-Schulte was born in Oxford, England, and moved to Canada as a child. Ironically, she was diagnosed incurably deaf at age five. Upon moving to Canada, however, her hearing was fully intact within months. Her music has been commissioned and performed by major orchestras, presenters, music festivals and broadcasters including the Festival Présences of Paris. Abigail won first at the prestigious UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers which resulted with broadcasts in 35 countries. She won the Karen Kieser Prize (CBC), Dora Mavor Moore Award for Best New Opera, Quenten Doolittle Award from New Works Calgary, Canadian Music Centre Prairie Region Award and a Hamilton Arts Award.
Holding the position of HPO Composer-in-Residence since 2012, Abigail previously served as Affiliate Composer with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and served as Ancillary Events Curator for their New Creations Festival. She wrote the wildly successful music for the classic Canadian story The Hockey Sweater by Roch Carrier. It was the country’s first triple co-commission by the TSO, National Arts Centre Orchestra and the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. The piece has been performed over 150 times in Canada and over a dozen times in France. A recording is available on the Centrediscs label with the HPO conducted by Gemma New and narrated by Roch Carrier in both English and French.
Other orchestral co-commissions include the WWI memorial piece, Song of the Poets, with choir and orchestra for National Arts Centre Orchestra’s U.K. tour, co-commissioned by NACO, The World Remembers Project, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra; a Trumpet Concerto for the HPO; and a complete children’s orchestra concert for the CPO and the TSO based on Dennis Lee’s book Alligator Pie. The HPO commissioned one of Abigail’s recent works, The Mermaid and the Fisherman, which was premiered on the mainstage in September 2019 with Principal Trumpet Michael Fedyshyn as soloist. Recent commissions include works for CPO, OSM, Lafayette String Quartet, baritone Russel Braun with the Magisterra Soloists, and Canadian Art Song Project. Her latest work, The Gull, the Raccoon, and the Last Maple, a contemporary fable for baroque orchestra and narrator, was commissioned by Tafelmusik.
Abigail is currently Composer-in-Residence with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, holding the position since 2012, and teaches composition at the University of Toronto.