Linda Hirst was born and grew up in Huddersfield, and studied flute and singing at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Her career began during the early music revival of the early seventies, with Roger Norrington, John Eliot Gardiner and David Munrow. From 1974-78 she was a Swingle Singer, she then co-founded Electric Phoenix. With both groups she travelled the world, leading to work with many living composers, and a solo career of international renown, in particular for her performances and recordings of contemporary music.
Her operatic roles have included Handel with Nicholas Kraemer, Berlioz with Roger Norrington, Ligeti for La Monnaie, Osborne and Knussen for Glyndebourne, Schoenberg for ROH and La Fenice, and in 2013 an improvised opera with Bruce McLean, and 2014 Lucie Treacher’s The Fisherman’s Brides for Tête-à-Tête. She has worked extensively with London Sinfonietta, Ensemble Modern, Ensemble Recherché and Ensemble Intercontemporain, singing Ligeti, Berio, Henze, Knussen, Holt, Weir, Muldowney, Lachenmann among many European and American composers, in Festivals Edinburgh, Paris, Metz, Holland, Ars Musica and Proms, with conductors including Gielen, Nagano, Rattle, Howarth, Masson, Metzmacher and Harding. She has given song recitals throughout her career – with Songmaker’s Almanac and Graham Johnson, Roger Vignoles for Radio 3, and in Europe and America, most recently in Lublin, Poland, where she did a solo recital in their John Cage Centenary. She has taught at Dartington International Summer School and given recitals there for about 30 years, and at the Hilliard Ensemble Summer Schools from 1995 – 20005.
Linda’s many recordings include Atom Heart Mother with Pink Floyd, Globokar’s Les Emigres and Privilege with Ivor Cutler, as well as the solo album Songs Cathy Sang with Diego Masson, early music with Fretwork and Monteverdi’s L’Incoronazione dio Poppea with Richard Hickox, and a recent release by Non-Classical of a live improv night with the Mercury Quartet.
She has been Head of Vocal Studies at Trinity Laban for 20 years; is President of the Kathleen Ferrier Society, a trustee of the Hinrichsen Foundation, a Fellow of Dartington College of Arts and holds an Honourary Doctorate in Literature from Huddersfield University.