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MARGARET HALEY is a composer of chamber, orchestral and vocal music based in West Yorkshire (UK).

Her working methods show a concern for mapping techniques as a means of skeletal construction, prior to staff notation. Often achieving an air of mystery, particularly in her instrumental projects, Margaret’s visual approach is tempered by her desire for shaping sound: Primary Colours (2003) and Black Hole (2008) two works for string orchestra alongside Cloud (2005) for saxophone quartet, explore this concept.

Margaret's growing catalogue of choral music include two a cappella works for SATB voices, the award-winning Mother Mary Sing (2003) and The Poppy Field (2008), both of which received acclaim.  As runner-up in the New Cambridge Singers Renaissance Reimagined composition competition (2016), Margaret was invited to reimagine A Fisherman's Baby for SATB voices (with divisi) & organ (2017).


Born in England (Coventry) in 1954, Margaret began her musical life at the age of seven by receiving piano and music theory lessons before developing a real passion for classical guitar in her mid-teens.


Already an established freelance instrumental music teacher, Margaret Haley embarked on further academic study as a mature student at the University of Huddersfield, where she studied composition with the guidance of her supervisors Christopher Fox, James Saunders, and latterly Monty Adkins and Bryn Harrison. On completion of her music undergraduate course (2000) Margaret’s burgeoning interest in contemporary music led to more in-depth research. Firstly, for her Master of Arts degree, as a result, she achieved an overall distinction alongside the prestigious postgraduate music prize in 2003. And, secondly in 2010, she was awarded a PhD in composition, in partial fulfilment of her portfolio of compositions Margaret's doctoral thesis: Drawing Sound in Time: A Commentary on my Recent Music investigates a visual approach.

In addition to academic study Margaret Haley was appointed instrumental teacher of guitar for Wakefield Music Services (September 2000-December 2004). This post afforded an opportunity to write educational material specifically for guitar ensembles (beginners - advanced level) in performance: Bugs (2002), Fishy Story (2004) and Wintertime (2004).



2005 - 2010

University of Huddersfield PhD in composition


2001 - 2003

University of Huddersfield MA in composition (awarded with overall distinction)


1997 - 2000

University of Huddersfield BMus(Hons) composition major (2:1)






Fountain Room/Barbican Centre, London

Opus2016 shortlisted composer in association with Britten Sinfonia: Rotanev


University of Huddersfield with the Goldberg Ensemble: Black Hole



University of Huddersfield with the Goldberg Ensemble: Primary Colours



University of Huddersfield with Firebird Ensemble: Betelgeuse



University of Huddersfield with violinist Mieko Kanno: Eclipse





2007 - 2008

SPNM & Making Music (UK), National Adopt-a-Composer Scheme/The Aire Valley Singers: The Poppy Field



Hythe Singers Christmas Carol Composition Competition (awarded first prize): Mother Mary Sing


2004 - 2007

SPNM (Society for Promoting New Music): shortlisted composer



University of Huddersfield, recipient of the post-graduate music prize






A Fisherman's Baby for SATB voices (with divisi) & organ, commissioned by the New Cambridge Singers


Some Say for SATB voices (with divisi), commissioned by Via Nova


Gemini for 2 classical guitars, commissioned by the Living Composers Project 2



The Poppy Field for SATB voices (with divisi), commissioned by SPNM & Making Music (sponsored by PRS)



Procyon for ensemble for 7 players, commissioned by Sounds Positive



5 Miniatures for solo piano, commissioned by the Living Composers Project 1




2016 - 2017

Wakefield Music Service, teacher of Guitar (key stage 2-4)


2016 - 2018

Ossett Guitar Group, Musical Director


2015 - 2018

Coxley Singers (Wakefield area, UK), Musical Director


2012 - 2015 

Kirklees College, Adult Education, courses in Guitar Performance, Singing


2005 - 2006

Kirklees Music School, teacher of Guitar (key stage 2-4)


2000 - 2004

Wakefield Music Service, teacher of Guitar (key stage 2-4)


1990 - 1994

Wakefield College, Adult Education courses in Guitar Performance


1990 - 2020      

Freelance teacher: Guitar Performance, Music Theory in Practice, Composition


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