English composer and conductor Robert Hanson was born in 1948 and educated at King Edward's School, Birmingham, and at Southampton University, obtaining his PhD (an analytical study of Webern) in 1976. He taught at Dartington College of Arts from 1974, where he was in charge of undergraduate music from 1983 and acting head of music in 1990. From 1991 until 2007 he was director of music at Morley College in London. He now works freelance, composing, conducting and teaching. His twenty-five-minute jazz quartet Reconnection was premiered on the South Bank in April 2008.
Hanson's music draws on many sources while speaking with a highly personal voice. His interest in Webern, Berg and the post-war avant-garde is connected by a lyrical impulse to other English music, and he has evolved his own methods of incorporating tonality and modality into his works.
He is an experienced orchestral and choral conductor, concentrating on the latter in recent years. Hanson's choral music ranges from editions of Renaissance, Baroque and Classical music through arrangements of Romantic songs to a wide spectrum of original work, including the forty part motet And There Shall Be No Night There, written for the same vocal forces as the Tallis Spem in Alium but with added brass.