January 15, 1913 – January 11, 2005
If I could find one word to describe the life and loyalty of Miriam Hyde AO, OBE, HonDLitt, HonFMusA, MusBac (Hon), that word would be the truest word ever written. Indeed, if music takes up where words leave off to express the inexpressible, I would be better put to honor Miriam by way of melody. To know her was to know a wonderful human being who just happened to be an accomplished musician, composer and educator whose formidable credentials and craftsmanship instilled in many – myself included – the simple desire to do one’s best. Her many achievements and her name in music are so well known that I feel no real need to make mention of them here. I do however feel the need for it to be known that for over thirty years since my first writing her at the age of 14 in 1972 requesting that she send me a handwritten manuscript – which she did! – to her last frail letter written me on November 11, 2004, she has been my mentor and my friend. She has been a constant in this ever changing world, and in a world which has seen many changes – some not always for the better – she has certainly been a comfort. Whether about matters musical or some frailty of the heart, she was always there and not at all casually so, but with a steadfastness and generosity of spirit that could only be described as golden. Even at a time when the multiplying privations of old age and the illness which finally claimed her were at their most debilitating, she sent a note of consolation and concern to my mother who had herself undergone major surgery:
I expect we shall enjoy a change to springtime before long. I keep looking at the bare trees in our street, waiting to see some leaves appearing – and the cold winds disappearing.
Such winds of change are the command of nature and a command inevitably obeyed. As I sensed her soul being sent astray through the sun’s reawakening clouds, the weight of my world began to change. As much as I am the better for having known her, I am that little bit more alone now. Long may she live in our hearts and minds. After all, although you may not realize it, we were always in hers.