Abigail Richardson-Schulte was born in Oxford, England and moved to Canada as a child. Ironically, she was diagnosed completely and incurably deaf at the age of five. Upon moving to Canada, her hearing was fully intact within months. After growing up in Calgary and studying composition there, she received a Doctorate degree from the University of Toronto.
Her music has been commissioned and performed by major orchestras, presenters and music festivals, including the Festival Présences of Paris, where Radio France commissioned a work for the Quatuor Castagneri from her. Abigail won the first Karen Kieser Prize for Canadian music and the CMC Prairie Region award. Most significantly, she won a first at the prestigious International Rostrum of Composers, after which her music was broadcast in 35 countries. Abigail’s opera Sanctuary Song, with librettist Marjorie Chan, was mounted in 14 performances (by Theatre Direct and Tapestry New Opera) for enthusiastic audiences and critics as part of Toronto’s Luminato festival. It won a Dora award for “Best New Opera” in 2009.
Abigail frequently collaborates with her husband, violinist Michael Schulte, who has played and conducted much of her work for national broadcast. Together, they are Co-Artistic Directors of Chamber Music Hamilton. Abigail has been Affiliate Composer for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra from 2006-2009 and is currently Festival Coordinator of their New Creations Festival. Current projects include a work for children’s choir and the Gryphon Trio, a choral fantasy for the Elmer Iseler Singers with orchestra and piano, and a TSO/NACO/CPO commission of “The Hockey Sweater” with text and narration by Roch Carrier. This work will also be made into a film by Rhombus Media.
Abigail will start a position of Composer in Residence with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra in 2012.