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Frank Hutchens (1892-1965) : Represented Artist

Random Audio Sample: The Enchanted isle (solo piano) by Frank Hutchens, from the CD Sea impressions

Photo of Frank Hutchens

Born in Christchurch, New Zealand in 1892, Frank Hutchens' career began when, at the age of twelve, his piano teacher arranged for him to play for Paderewski, who advised him to travel to London to study. On this advice, Hutchens set out alone, in about 1905, to attend the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he studied piano and composition with Tobias Matthay and Frederick Corder. He received a number of scholarships and prizes, including the Thalberg Scholarship, the Hine Prize and the Chappell Medal, and became the youngest sub-professor ever to be appointed at the RAM, being elected to that position in 1909, at the age of seventeen.

Hutchens graduated in 1911 and returned to New Zealand. He later travelled to Sydney, having given many recitals on an extensive tour of New Zealand, and was provided with opportunities to perform there by Alfred Hill, who was at that time the conductor of the Sydney Amateur Orchestral Society. In 1915 he accepted the offer of a Professorship in Piano at the newly-established NSW Conservatorium of Music. He taught at the Conservatorium for fifty years, and was the only remaining member of the original staff at the time of his death.

In about 1924, Hutchens formed a piano duo with Lindley Evans. This partnership lasted for forty years, encompassing tours of Australia and New Zealand, broadcast performances, recordings, a recital for Dame Nellie Melba and the premiere performance of Francis Poulenc's Concerto for Two Pianos. Both members of the duo also being composers, performances were given of their own compositions, most notably Hutchens' Fantasie Concerto and Evans' Idyll, which were given several times and were recorded in 1962. The two pianists established a scholarship for young musicians, which was funded by the piano duo concerts.

Hutchens was also a professor at the Newcastle Conservatorium of Music, an adjudicator of eisteddfodau, president of the NSW Musical Association at various times, a director of APRA, chairman of several music-examination activities, and a member of the Conservatorium advisory board. After visiting Japan, towards the end of his life, Hutchens became very interested in the music of Asia, and was a strong advocate for Australia to establish stronger musical ties with China and Japan.

Frank Hutchens was made a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music in 1939. He was also a 'Bard of Cornwall' and in 1962 received the OBE for services to music.

Hutchens was killed in a car accident in October 1965.

Analysis & Media

Book: Frank Hutchens : notes on an Australian musician / edited by Sandra Jobson.