Bill Hopkins was born in Prestbury, Cheshire on 5 June 1943, and died aged only 37 in 1981; only a few of his nine mature works were performed during his lifetime.

After university he studied with Messiaen and Jean Barraqué in Paris; while there he set poems by Beckett and Rimbaud in Sensation, and by Joyce in Two Pomes (for soprano and string quartet). His largest-scale work was Etudes en série for piano (1965-72), begun in Paris; while part of this work was performed in 1968, it was not until 1997 that the whole series was premiered by Nicolas Hodges.

After finishing the Etudes, Hopkins completed only two further original works: the Nouvelle étude hors série for organ (1974), a reworking of discarded pieces from the piano Etudes, and his last work, En attendant (1976-7), for flute, oboe, cello and harpsichord).

From 1977 Hopkins was a lecturer at Birmingham University, moving to Newcastle University in 1979. In 1981 he died of a heart attack.


(c) 1997 Nicolas Hodges