EVANS, HAL (1906-1998)

Hal Evans (born 1906, England; died 1998, Australia), musician, pianist, composer, conductor, director was a remarkable man having had a distinquished musical career during his 92 years. At the Royal College of Music, London, Hal Evans studied composition under Tobias Matthay and orchestration under Dr. Gordon Jacob. He began his professional career as a solo and orchestral pianist and accompanist for the BBC and the Theatre. From 1939 to 1945, he was under contract with the BBC as pianist, arranger and composer.
In 1945 he became Music Director for Pathe Films, conducted the BBC Majestic Orchestra, and was the arranger for the Luton Girls Choir and for the Welsh Gwalia Choir. Responding to a professional music opportunity from Sydney, Australia, Hal Evans emigrated in 1949, making the continent downunder his new home. In Sydney, he became the composer/director of the Australian Performing Rights Association (APRA). He formed and served as president of the Fellowship of Australian Composers for many years. He also had a close association with the ABC and the Australian Elizabethan Trust. Here he composed the original score for Norman Lindsay's Magic Pudding.
In his professional life, Hal Evans worked with many professional musicians and composers, eg. Irving Berlin, the Andrew Sisters, Vera Lynn, and Julie Andrews. Among his compositional output are 112 choral arrangements. A large part of this repertoire was created in retirement years during which time he made many arrangements for local community groups, etc. The titles made available by API were written since 1989 during his last creative decade.
Hal's standard of music quality was high. Writing for the artist-singer, he was exceptionally mindful of the role of the accompaniment, sensitively allowing the voice to be the focal point and not the decoration. Singers describe their experiences with Hal Evans accompanying them and working with him as absolute joy!