Hilary Bracefield (1938-2020)

It is with great sadness that we report that Hilary Bracefield passed away on 22 April.

A long-standing member of the RMA, and a familiar presence at our annual conference, Hilary served with distinction as a Vice-President from 2004 to 2011.  Many will recall her ebullient support of the Association, and the warm welcome she extended to new members in particular.  In 1987 she played a major role in founding the RMA’s Irish Chapter, which in 2002 was succeeded by the Society for Musicology in Ireland (SMI), of which she was a staunch supporter.

Hilary was born in New Zealand and studied at the universities of Otago, Canterbury and Birmingham.  From the early 1970s, she played a significant role in various aspects of contemporary music as a writer, administrator and performer. She was one of the early editors of the influential British journal Contact (which has recently been made available online) and founded several groups for the performance of experimental music, both in Birmingham and in Belfast, where she was for many years a director of the path-breaking Sonorities Festival.  In 1976 she was appointed Lecturer in Music at Ulster Polytechnic (now Ulster University), where she taught until her retirement in 2003.  She was also a director of Ireland’s Contemporary Music Centre; and in recognition of her service to Irish musicology, she was elected an honorary member of both the SMI and the Irish Association for American Studies.

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