Hallock at 100
2024 Marks the Centenary Year of Peter Hallock’s birth. Learn more about Peter and his music, and join us in celebrating by registering performances of Hallock’s music here on our website.
About The Peter R. Hallock Institute
The Hallock Institute, a ministry of the Diocese of Olympia, oversees an archive of the music and papers of Peter R. Hallock and manages the assets of the Institute. The Institute creates editions of Hallock’s unpublished works; advocates, publicizes and broadens the audience for Hallock’s music; makes small grants to support the performance of his music; and presents workshops and educational symposia focused on Hallock’s music and liturgical innovations and the Compline Choir.
The Hallock Institute will further the legacy of the music of Peter R. Hallock and ensure that his music is widely known, by cultivating and engaging potential partners and stakeholders and creating a broad network of musicians, liturgists, and clergy who champion Hallock’s music. The Institute will make Hallock’s music readily available in reliable editions and encourage its performance and recording, and it will ensure the future of the Compline Choir by celebrating and sharing with others its core values, practices and principles.
Peter R. Hallock (1924-2014)
The compositions of Peter Hallock are rooted in the experience of the numinous — especially through the acoustical space of Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral in Seattle, Washington, where he spent the major part of his working life. Organist/choirmaster at Saint Mark’s for 40 years (1951-1991) and founder and director of The Compline Choir (1956-2009), Hallock produced works that have greatly enriched the sacred repertoire. He also made a number of pioneering contributions to local and national church music traditions in the United States, promoting such things as the tracker-action organ, the countertenor voice, Easter services with brass and percussion, modern liturgical dramas and processions, and performances with historically-informed instruments. But his most notable gift to the church was the creation of a choir that sings the Office of Compline at St. Mark’s every Sunday evening, attracting attendees in the hundreds, and thousands listening each week to the broadcast — reviving interest in this last of the Divine Hours.
Peter Rasmussen Hallock, born in Kent, Washington, in November 1924, studied piano at the age of five, and began organ lessons at fourteen; he was a music student at the University of Washington in Seattle in 1942 when he was drafted to serve in the army during World War II. Returning home post-war he completed his course-work in 1949, studying composition with George Frederick McKay and organ with Walter Eichinger. Then, with more “G. I. Bill” funds remaining, he went abroad to study at the Royal School of Church Music (RSCM), based at the time in Canterbury, England; he later joined the Canterbury Cathedral Choir — the first American to do so. Returning to Seattle in 1951, Peter was invited to apply for the position of organist/choirmaster at Saint Mark’s Cathedral. During his long tenure at the cathedral, Hallock also worked for the national Episcopal Church, having been appointed to the Joint Commission on Church Music in 1965. After his retirement in 1991, he continued to direct The Compline Choir until 2009. At his home near Fall City, Washington, he composed, refined, and produced new recordings of his works, and tended his Japanese garden. He died there in April 2014 at the age of 89.
Peter Hallock wrote more than 225 musical and theatrical works, both sacred and secular; many exist only in manuscript, and their publication is part of the mission of the Hallock Institute. Some of the anthems, large choral works, and service music (notably the Ionian Psalter — 212 psalms for choir, organ, and congregation) are published by IONIAN ARTS, Inc., a company that Peter Hallock and Carl and Katherine Crosier founded in 1986. Hallock composed a number of anthems for The Compline Choir, many accompanied; of the latter, Night Music (with harp, shakuhachi, and percussion), To the Supreme Being (oboe and organ), and The Dawning and Jubilemus Omnes (five ‘cellos) are noteworthy. The Compline Psalter, psalm settings written for The Compline Choir, is newly published (2020) by the Hallock Institute. Hallock wrote many outstanding works for the Saint Mark’s Cathedral Choir; among these are some of the pieces in the first offerings of the Institute.