Spirals in the Sky
Spirals in the Sky, by Martha Hill Duncan
For Solo Piano, Early Advanced, 21 Pages
"In this whimsical marriage of astronomy and music, my husband, astrophysicist, Dr. Martin Duncan and I have combined our talents to celebrate the beauty of the night sky and the magic of music." M.H. Duncan
Martha Hill Duncan’s passion for music started early, inspired by her mother, who sang and played the piano by ear. Martha was a member of the first graduating class of the Houston High School for Performing and Visual Arts and earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Composition from the University of Texas at Austin.
Her piano works have been inspired, at least in part, by her long-time career as a piano teacher and some of these pieces, as well as her art songs, appear in educational publications and syllabi. Piano collection titles include The Sunken Garden, Isla Vista Suite, Precipitations, Angular Measures, Limestone Etchings, Rainy Days and Cottage Days. Since moving from the United States to Canada, many of her compositions have been inspired by Canadian landscapes and texts. In January 2014, her youth opera, Searching the Painted Sky, with poet/librettist Janet Windeler Ryan, was premiered at the National Opera Association Convention in New York City. She was named a finalist for the 2020 Louis Applebaum Award.
A former piano examiner for the Royal Conservatory of Music, she is also a founding member of Red Leaf Pianoworks, a self-publishing composers’ collective. Originally from Houston, Texas, Martha and her husband Martin have lived in Kingston, Ontario since 1988. She also conducts the women’s choir She Sings! and has two grown children and two granddaughters. To explore more of her music, please visit www.marthahillduncan.com
Dr. Martin Duncan was born in London, England and was raised in Montreal, Canada. As a child, his biggest question was, “What would happen if...?” His first experiments involved creating foul-smelling concoctions with his chemistry set in his
parents’ basement. He survived and went on to complete an Honours Physics degree at McGill University, followed by graduate degrees in astronomy at the Universities of Toronto and Texas at Austin. Post-doctoral research was performed at Cornell University, the University of Toronto and the University of California, Santa Cruz. In 1988, he became a professor of astronomy and physics at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.
In his academic career he has co-authored over 120 scientific papers, which have been cited over 8,000 times. He has presented numerous invited talks at international scientific conferences and has been the guest speaker at many public lectures. His research has ranged from the study of black holes to simulations of the formation and orbital evolution of planets and comets. He is best known for the prediction of the existence of a disk of small icy bodies beyond Neptune, which he and his colleagues called the Kuiper Belt. In 1996, the International Astronomical Union named Asteroid 6115 “martinduncan” in honor of his contributions to planetary dynamics.