Jim Hiscott was born in 1948 in St. Catharines, Ontario. In 1971, after earning a Master’s Degree in Theoretical Particle Physics, he switched to music composition, studying with Samuel Dolin at the Royal Conservatory of Music and David Lidov and Richard Teitelbaum at York University. He is the recipient of the Creative Arts Award of the Canadian Federation of University Women. His compositions have been performed across North America, in Europe and Asia by many artists including the Hilliard Ensemble, the St. Lawrence String Quartet, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the Vancouver New Music Society ensemble, Rivka Golani, Arraymusic, and Philadelphia’s Relâche.
Jim Hiscott has performed his own works for button accordion in the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra’s New Music Festival, the Vancouver New Music Society series, Toronto’s Big Squeeze Festival, and on the main stage of the Vancouver Folk Music Festival. He has appeared as button accordion soloist with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the Niagara Symphony, and the New Orchestra of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.
Recent premieres of music by Jim Hiscott include AFTER SORROW (string trio), performed by Karl Stobbe, Elise Lavallée and Emma Quackenbush; TANGLE (oboe, double bass, percussion), performed by Caitlin Broms-Jacobs, Meredith Johnson and Ben Reimer, SPIRAL (two violas), performed by Daniel and Michael Scholz; I SPOKE TO NO ONE… (chamber ensemble), given by the GroundSwell Ensemble conducted by Earl Stafford; THE SONG OF THE STARS (version for soprano, string orchestra and guitar) given by Maria-Luz Alvarez with the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra Players and Rodrigo Muñoz; SHADOW PLAY (flute and tabla) performed by Laurel Ridd and Shawn Mativetsky; MANIMASII AURA (button accordion and chamber ensemble), with Simeonie Keenainak and the CBC Radio Orchestra conducted by Alain Trudel; BEATING HEART (solo violin and button accordion with chamber orchestra), with Atis Bankas, Jim Hiscott, and the Orchestra of St. Mark’s, led by Daniel Swift; IN MEMORIAM WALTER KLYMKIW (SATB Choir, soloists, and violin solo), given by the Oleksandr Koshetz Choir with vocal soloists and violinist Gwen Hoebig, conducted by Laurence Ewashko; and NORTH WIND (dizi and orchestra), with Xiao-Nan Wang and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, led by Music Director Andrey Boreyko.
STRING QUARTET #2 from his CBC Records CD “Blue Ocean / Music of Jim Hiscott” was nominated for Outstanding Classical Composition at the 2004 Western Canadian Music Awards.
Hiscott is also one of the founding Artistic Directors of Winnipeg’s new music series GroundSwell, whose first season was in 1992. He is Council member of the Canadian League of Composers and president of the Canadian Section of the ISCM; he has recently served on the boards of the CMC Prairie Region and the Canadian New Music Network.