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Sophie Hutchings

Australian pianist/composer Sophie Hutchings performs elegant post-classical music which flits from soothing, idyllic, and melancholy to urgent and tempestuous. Likened to artists such as Nils Frahm, Max Richter, and Dustin O'Halloran, her music focuses on delicate piano melodies, sometimes incorporating strings, woodwind, percussion, and ethereal vocals. Her recordings range from more fully arranged albums like 2012's Night Sky to sparse, dreamy efforts such as 2017's Byways. With a gregarious, outgoing personality belied by her music's wistful introspection, Hutchings was born into a musical family. Her father was a jazz musician who had toured the U.S. and played with Frank Sinatra, and her brother Jamie fronted the alternative rock band Bluebottle Kiss. She began making music as a child on the family piano. In later years she was influenced by shoegaze and ambient, and by post-classical pioneer Jóhann Jóhannsson, whom she once named her favorite composer. Initially extremely shy about performing, she contributed to some of her brother's band's recordings, but did not make her solo debut until age 32, when, in 2010, Sydney experimental label Preservation released her first album, Becalmed. Recorded by Tim Whitten, long-term engineer for avant-garde trio the Necks, the album was largely solo piano, with the occasional interjection of pedal steel, strings, and drum kit. The influences of ambient, jazz, and indie rock were noticeable, but more subliminal than overt, transmuted in a kind of musical alchemy. Perhaps the most obvious influences on the album were seminal post-classical group Rachel's and Michael Nyman's classic score for The Piano. The album was very well-received, and Hutchings released a follow-up, Night Sky, in 2012, which saw her broaden her palette by including more arrangements for strings and woodwind which gave the album more of a chamber feel. Many of her family members, including her father, played on the record. A completely solo mini-album, White Light, appeared in 2014, before her third full-length, Wide Asleep, followed in 2016. Yonder was released by 1631 Recordings in 2017, followed by mini-album Byways. For her seventh album, Hutchings entered Sydney's Trackdown Studios in 2019 armed with a collection of previously composed pieces, which had been gathering dust, and a selection of newly composed material. Working with the likes of long-time collaborators Peter Hollo and Jay Kong, the resulting album, Scattered on the Wind was issued on Mercury KX at the beginning of 2020.
© John D. Buchanan /TiVo


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