“The purpose of art is to reflect society;
it must be revisited through a new lens with a new perspective,
and that lens is art.”
Fusing a punk/grunge background with spectral techniques and classical refinement, Miami composer Dorothy Hindman pushes the boundaries of the technically possible with unique, visceral elegance. Critics have called her music “bright with energy and a lilting lyricism” (New York Classical Review), “dramatic, highly strung” (Fanfare), “varied, utterly rich … with purpose and heart” (Huffington Post), “powerful and skillfully conceived” (The Miami Herald), and “music of terrific romantic gesture” (The Buffalo News). Of her latest CD Tightly Wound, ICON magazine says, “Hindman’s music weds technique and syntax of classical music with the directness and impudence of rock. Highly recommended for rockers wishing to get their proverbial feet wet in post-20th century classical music.”
Across Hindman’s catalog of over 75 works, surface impact comes from the driving rhythms and distortion of her punk/rock roots. Through juxtaposition, imitation and fragmentation, simple ideas are woven into highly complex structures, while revealing deeper emotional and intellectual levels. Timbre is a primary compositional concern for Hindman, a former rock band synth player. Dissections, explorations and manipulations of sonic models often provide formal or conceptual bases for her music.
Hindman’s sonic models often engage with autobiographical and social issues. She writes:
“My purpose as a composer is to present my unique human perspective, challenge assumptions, and expand one’s understanding of themselves and others. Inspired by local history and personal experience, I explore my mis/understanding of past and current events, and the cultural, social and economic legacies I have inherited.
I want to captivate my listener, to reach and touch their humanity, to place a demand on their attention that is rewarded. My music is provocative, but also engaging, memorable, and ultimately meant to affect positive change. Ideally, whatever the listener takes away can be cathartic.”
Virtuosic and hardcore, Hindman’s music requires like-minded pioneering spirits. Her collaborators include today’s most trailblazing new music performers: Splinter Reeds, Bent Frequency, ensemble dal niente, [Switch~ Ensemble], TURNmusic, Corona Guitar Kvartet, Fresh Squeezed Opera, Heartland Marimba Quartet, The Hadit Collective, the Gregg Smith Singers, Empire City Men’s Chorus, Voces Inauditae, Duo 46, and virtuosi such as bassist Robert Black, cellist Craig Hultgren, percussionist Stuart Gerber, and pianist Jacob Mason. Multimedia collaborations include music for Carrie Mae Weem’s film Italian Dreams, and The Wall Calls to Me with visual artist Sally Wood Johnson has been exhibited in major museums throughout the Southeast.
Her over 400 performances span 30 states and 16 countries, in major venues including Carnegie Hall, the United Nations, Boston’s Jordan Hall, the American Academy in Rome, Amsterdam’s Muziekgebouw, Berlin’s BKA-Theater, and Miami’s Adrienne Arsht Center. Numerous festival performances include the Havana Contemporary Music Festival, ISCM/New Music Miami, Boston Microtonal Society, Australian Flute Festival, Birmingham New Music Festival, Charlotte New Music Festival, and Nuovi Spazi Musicali Festival. Orchestra commissions and performances include the Florida Orchestra, the Alabama Symphony, the Greater Miami Youth Symphony, and Sinfonia Gulf Coast.
A tumultuous, unstable, often dangerous youth fuels much of Hindman’s music, but has also energized decades of volunteerism and advocacy, especially in new music. In her early career she co-edited the Living Music Journal, and co-founded the Birmingham Art Music Alliance, now in its 25th year, securing grant support and co-producing annual series of new music by Alabama composers. A devoted educator since 1994, Hindman’s beginning music theory course at Birmingham-Southern College paired college students with underprivileged 5th graders to collaborate, write and perform their own youth operas. From 2011-2015, she wrote, produced and broadcast the weekly Po Mo Show on WVUM, 90.5FM Coral Gables, promoting living composers and new music written since 1980. From 2011-2014, she was a critic for the Miami Herald and South Florida Classical Review, often documenting important world and US premieres. Hindman has recently launched the Justly Tuned concert series under the auspices of FETA (Foundation for Emerging Technologies and the Arts), presenting new music that engages with social and political issues, exploring music as communication, commentary, and catalyst for change, and promoting unheard stories, underserved voices, and fresh ideas.
Grant support for Hindman’s work has come from the Mellon Foundation, the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, and the Alabama State Council on the Arts. Among her prizes and recognition are the American Prize, Gold Medals in the Global Music Awards, Iron Composer, NoteNova Choral Competition, Almquist Choral Composition Award, Nancy Van de Vate International Composition Prize for Opera, International Society of Bassists Solo Composition Competition, Percussive Arts Society Solo Marimba Composition Competition, and the NACUSA Young Composers Competition.
Hindman has been awarded artist residencies from the Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts, Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, Seaside Escape to Create, Visiting Artist at the American Academy in Rome, the Visby International Centre for Composers, and Composer-in-Residence for the Goliard Ensemble. Hindman’s guest faculty appearances include the Charlotte New Music Festival, the Summer Composition Intensive at St. Mary’s College, the Miami International Piano Festival Academy, and the AmiCa Credenze POP Festival in Sicily.
Hindman’s music appears on twelve CDs. Her engineer/producer credits include her monograph CDs Blow by Blow (innova 010), Tightly Wound (innova 965) and Tapping the Furnace (innova 878).
Kulturni Magazin UNI raves, “Hindman offers extraordinary glimpses into interesting topics, concepts of modernity and structured complexity. … for many listeners the composer’s first CD Tapping The Furnace represents a remarkable discovery.” ICON magazine says of Tightly Wound: “Hindman’s music weds technique and syntax of classical music with the directness and impudence of rock. Highly recommended for rockers wishing to get their proverbial feet wet in post-20th century classical music.” Other recent recordings include Albany’s Frost Symphony Live (2018), and the title track on Corona Guitar Kvartet’s Taut (2015). Hindman’s music can also be found on the Capstone, EMM, and Living Artist label.
Performance and study scores are available from Subito Music, NoteNova, and dorn/Needham.
Hindman earned her Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Miami, and a Master of Arts from Duke University. She was a tenured professor at Birmingham-southern College, where she taught from 1994-2010. In 2012, Hindman joined the faculty at the Frost School of Music, where she currently serves as Associate Professor of Composition.