Elaine Hugh-Jones's songs have recently been performed in recital by Roderick Williams, James Gilchrist, Diana Moore and Elizabeth Watts. Her songs are finding an increasing audience, as singers become aware of her unique talents in setting poetry to music. She is particularly drawn to twentieth-century poets including Edward Thomas, Wilfred Owen and Walter de la Mare, but has also made very memorable settings of Shakespeare and American nineteenth-century poets. Elaine has recently added settings of poems by A. E. Housman and Yeats to her list of works.
Elaine has enjoyed a busy career as a pianist, composer and teacher. Her keyboard training was with Dr F. W. Wadeley, Harold Craxton and Julius Isserlis. In the post-war years, Elaine was an official accompanist for children's programmes with the BBC, work which she combined with teaching at Derby High School, where she was appointed Director of Music in 1949. From 1956 to '83, she continued her radio (and latterly, television) work for the BBC in Birmingham whilst teaching at Kidderminster High School from 1955, and from 1963 at Malvern Girls' College and then at Malvern College.
Elaine Hugh-Jones has developed her work as a composer mostly over the last thirty years. The emphasis of her creativity has been in the vocal and choral category, in which there are to be found six song-cycles, some church music and a number of solo songs. Much of her work has been broadcast by the BBC radio networks. She received lessons in composition from Lennox Berkeley and in orchestration from John Joubert.
The tenor and Swingle Singer John Potter was instrumental in promoting Elaine’s songs, introducing them to soprano, Dr Jane Manning, who has performed her songs in recital and on BBC Radio 3.
Elaine’s first cycle of songs, Eight Songs of Walter de la Mare was written over a period of twenty-one years, the latest song, 'The Raven's Tomb', was added in 1989. The cycle has been broadcast several times on BBC Radio 3. Further cycles have followed including Songs of War, settings of Wilfred Owen's poems, and Strange Journey, settings of poems by Edward Thomas. Other notable song collections include Six Songs of R. S. Thomas, and A Cornford Cycle, settings of Edwardian poet, Frances Cornford.
A concert consisting entirely of her music was given at the Welsh College of Music and Drama in December 1995. The University of Bangor has also championed her music, in a major concert in 2012. Elaine’s output is included in the archives of Welsh music in the Welsh National Library, Aberystwyth. Copies of her songs are also held at Sound and Music UK. Four of Elaine’s songs were performed in the 2013 English Song Weekend at Ludlow by soprano Elizabeth Watts and pianist Iain Burnside.
Elaine Hugh Jones is published by OUP, Caradoc Music Publishing and the Hildegard Publishing Company, Philadelphia. Her songs appear in Vol. 3 and Vol. 5 of A Century of English Song published by Thames (Music Sales).