Sydney Hodkinson

Adjunct Professor of Music

Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Sydney Hodkinson received his bachelor and master of music degrees from Eastman School of Music where he studied composition with Louis Mennini and Bernard Rogers. He continued his studies in composition at the Princeton Seminars with Elliott Carter, Roger Sessions and Milton Babbitt. Hodkinson received his doctor of musical arts degree from the University of Michigan in 1968, studying with Leslie Bassett, Niccolo Castiglioni, Ross Lee Finney and George B. Wilson. Brief private studies with Benjamin Britten and Luigi Dallapiccola ensued.

Hodkinson has taught at the Universities of Virginia, Ohio and Michigan and from 1970 to 1972, served as artist-in-residence in Minneapolis under a grant from the Ford Foundation Contemporary Music Project. He joined the faculty of the conducting and ensembles department of Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester in 1973, assuming the directorship of the Eastman Musica Nova Ensemble and, later, the Kilbourn Orchestra. From 1984 to 1986, he served as Meadows Distinguished Professor of Composition at Southern Methodist University and in 1991 was visiting professor of composition at the University of Western Ontario. In 1995, Hodkinson assumed teaching duties in the composition department at Eastman School until his retirement in January 1999. Since then, he has conducted the New Music Group at Oberlin College (2001), served as visiting professor of composition at Indiana University (2002), Duke University (2003) and in 2004 accepted the Almand Chair of Composition at Stetson University in DeLand, Fla. Hodkinson also currently conducts the Contemporary Ensemble and serves as a composer-in-residence at the Aspen Colorado Music Festival and School. During spring 2012, he was awarded the Bolcom extended residency in composition at the University of Michigan and in March 2012 served as composer-in-residence at Indiana University.

Hodkinson has written over 280 works covering a vast range of genres: educational pieces, a large variety of chamber music, including six string quartets, a prolific output of choral, operatic and vocal music, and large orchestral canvases, with concerti for English horn, voice, violin and clarinet. His Seventh and Ninth Symphonies are scored for large wind ensemble. Monumentum pro umbris for winds was awarded the 2004 Audience Prize and won second place in the International Harmonie Composition Contest of Harelbeke, Belgium. Recent compositions include four keyboard works: Episodes, Stolen Goods and Faded Anecdotes for piano and Organmusic: Six Tableaux for solo organ; for chamber septet, Eulogy - In Memoriam of Donald Erb and Six-Pak: A Divertimento for wind ensemble, and Potpourri - eleven very short pieces for symphony orchestra.

His awards include:

  • The National Institute of Arts and Letters
  • Guggenheim Foundation
  • The Canada Council
  • The National Endowment for the Arts
  • International Congress of Jeunesses Musicales
  • Farnsley Prize of the Louisville Orchestra
  • Danforth Foundation
  • Ford Foundation

His compositions appear in the catalogs of Theodore Presser, the American Composers Alliance, Associated Music Publishers (G. Schirmer), Ludwig Music Pub. Co., Music for Percussion, Editions Jobert, Ricordi, Columbia University Music Press, Dorn Publications, Transcontinental and Smith Music Publications. His activities as composer/conductor are recorded on CRI, Grenadilla, Louisville, Advance, Albany, Nonesuch, Centaur, CBC, Novisse, Mark, Innova, and Pantheon labels.

Hodkinson, a U.S. citizen since 1995, is married to violinist Elizabeth Deischer. They have three sons and currently reside in Ormond-By-The-Sea, Fla.


  • D.M.A., University of Michigan
  • M.M., composition, Eastman School of Music
  • B.M., Eastman School of Music

Sydney Hodkinson

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