Hugh Wolff is among the leading conductors of his generation. He has appeared with all the major American orchestras including those of Chicago, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Cleveland. Wolff is much in demand in Europe, where he has conducted the London Symphony, the Philharmonia, the Orchestre National de France, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Czech Philharmonic, Israel Philharmonic, Bavarian and Berlin Radio Orchestras, and is a regular guest conductor with orchestras in Canada, Japan, Korea, Scandinavia and Australia. He is also a frequent conductor at summer music festivals.
Music Director of the Belgian National Orchestra, Wolff was principal conductor of the Frankfurt Radio Orchestra (1997-2006). Together they toured Europe, Japan and China and appeared at the Salzburg Festival. Wolff was principal conductor and then music director of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra (1988-2000), with whom he recorded twenty discs and toured the United States, Europe, Japan and the Far East. Of this partnership, the New York Times wrote: “the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, under the direction of Hugh Wolff, has developed an effortlessly polished sound ... Wolff shapes his interpretations with impeccable taste.”
A conductor whose interests span baroque performance practice to the championing of new works, Wolff was music director of the New Jersey Symphony (1986-1993) and Chicago’s Grant Park Music Festival (1994-1997). He began his professional career in 1979 as associate conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra under Mstislav Rostropovich.
Wolff has an extensive discography including a complete set of Beethoven symphonies with the Frankfurt Radio Orchestra, music from the baroque to the present with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and new works of John Corigliano, Brett Dean, John Harbison, Aaron Jay Kernis and Mark-Anthony Turnage. He has collaborated on CD with Msitislav Rostropovich, Yo-Yo Ma, Joshua Bell, Hilary Hahn, Edgar Meyer, Dawn Upshaw, Jennifer Larmore, Jean-Yves Thibaudet and jazz guitarist John Scofield. Three times nominated for a Grammy Award, Wolff won the 2001 Cannes Classical Award.
Born in Paris to American parents, Wolff spent his early years in London and Washington DC. His final year in high school, he studied piano with Leon Fleisher and composition with George Crumb. After graduating from Harvard College in 1975, Wolff won a fellowship to study conducting with Charles Bruck and composition with Olivier Messiaen in Paris. He returned to the United States to continue piano studies with Fleisher at the Peabody Institute. Throughout his career, Wolff has performed as a pianist in chamber music with orchestral colleagues and guest soloists.
In addition to his performing career, Wolff holds the Stanford and Norma Jean Calderwood Director of Orchestras chair at New England Conservatory.
Wolff and his wife, Judith Kogan, have three sons.
Baiba Skride & Mozart - Lutosławski
The American jazz pianist and composer Anthony Davis has written many engaging operas, including one about the African American civil rights activist Malcolm X and about the Central Park jogger case, a court case in which black and Latino youths were convicted of a rape they did not commit.
Shostakovich Festival - Lucas Debargue
Shostakovich’s Concerto for Piano, Trumpet and Strings is a particularly cheerful and humorous composition, written in 1933 when the composer was 27 years old and had not yet clashed with the Soviet regime.
Víkingur Ólafsson & Mozart 23 / Bartók Concerto for Orchestra
Thomas Adès composed In 2010 a 15-minute-long piece entitled Polaris: Voyage for Orchestra. In the same way that all the other stars appear to rotate around the Pole Star, Thomas Adès has all the instruments rotate around the same melody, introduced one by one from high to low.
Martin Grubinger & Dorman/ Rachmaninoff
Austrian Martin Grubinger is one of the most famous percussionists in the world. Many classical composers have composed for him.
Timothy Chooi & Prokofiev 1/ Debussy
In her composition Laterna Magica, the celebrated Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho plays with various tempos, each exposing different parameters. Fast tempos emphasise rhythmic continuity, while slow tempos focus the attention on specific timbres.
Véronique Gens & Mahler Rückert-Lieder
Mozart composed his Symphony No. 34 at the age of 24 in Salzburg. It would be the last symphony he would compose on commission of the Salzburg archbishops. Afterwards, he established himself as an independent artist in Vienna. Symphony No.
Lore Binon & Mahler 4
Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 starts with a strong rhythmic motif played on sleigh bells mounted on a stick. Though the stick is shaken in a slow and thoughtful manner in the first section, the same instrument is deployed aggressively in the fourth and final movement.
Cancelled - A Jazzy New year
THE ROARING TWENTIES
Brannon Cho & Prokofiev
PROKOFIEV'S SINFONIA CONCERTANTE
Mahler Das Lied von der Erde
FAREWELL TO THE WORLD
Sergey Khachatryan & Max Bruch / Brahms 2
RICH AND SEDUCTIVE
Cancelled - Florian Noack & Beethoven
Between Mozart and Rossini
Christian Tetzlaff & Beethoven
A sky full of violins
Queen Elisabeth Competition - Piano
The competition, named after the queen who had a (very) big heart for the arts, has since its creation in the 1930s become one of the most prestigious references for up-and-coming musical talent.
Karthaüser & Mozart / Dvořák 6
The Belgian soprano Sophie Karthäuser hardly needs an introduction: for over twenty years, she’s been renowned as one of the most sublime interpreters of Mozart in the European opera and concert world.
Richard Egarr & Mozart/Schumann 2
“Dark, tragic and passionate,” is how the musicologist Alfred Einstein described Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 24. Composed in C minor, this piece in three parts stands out for its highly-developed chromaticism, Bach-inspired polyphony and intensely dramatic character.
Hugh Wolff & Bertrand Chamayou
Hugh Wolff & Sunwook Kim
Hugh Wolff & Ivan Krpan
Hugh Wolff & Mayumi Kanagawa
Organised by Burghofspiele GMBH
Queen Elisabeth Competition 2019 - Final violin
Organized by Queen Elisabeth Competition
The Ring of Lust
Hugh Wolff & Elisabeth Kulman (mezzo-soprano)
Re: Beethoven - Pride and Persistence (in response to Beethoven's Seventh Symphony)
Hugh Wolff, Hendrickje van Kerckhove (soprano) & Éric-Emmanuel Schmitt (narrateur)
Re: Beethoven - Oppression and Resistance (in response to Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, "The Victory Symphony")
Hugh Wolff, Sophie Karthäuser (soprano), Thomas Bauer (baryton) & Collegium Vocale Gent
The Finale to End All Finales
Hugh Wolff & Augustin Hadelich (violin)
Hugh Wolff & Pierre-Laurent Aimard (piano), Olivier Latry (organ)
The inauguration of BOZAR's monumental organ will be backed up with special guests and an outstanding bill of fare! The Belgian National Orchestra is performing for the first time this season in its new format and conducted by its new musical director, the American Hugh Wolff.
Hugh Wolff & Nicolas Angelich (piano)
Hugh Wolff & Jean-Guihen Queyras (cello)
The French cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras has to draw on all his technical prowess in Prokofiev's Sinfonia concertante, one of the most difficult concertos for this instrument.
Hugh Wolff presents two perennial works from the modern repertoire. Ligeti’s dreamy Lontano was used in the bloodcurdling thriller Shutter Island while in the fierce yet ironic Ninth Symphony, the last of his works to be fully completed, Mahler seems to be issuing a challenge in the f
Hugh Wolff & Frank Peter Zimmerman (violin)
Frank Peter Zimmermann displays his talents in a rendition of Beethoven's everlasting Violin concerto. Preceded and followed by ballet music.
Hugh Wolff & Kim Taehyung (piano), Kim Bomsori (violin)
In collaboration with the Korean Cultural Centre
Hugh Wolff & Martin Helmchen (piano)
Hugh Wolff & Pierre-Laurent Aimard (piano)
The versatility of Hugh Wolff, the new musical director of the Belgian National Orchestra, is already apparent from his wide choice of repertoire. Today he has programmed the classical-romantic (Beethoven), the avant-garde of the interbellum (Ravel) and contemporary post-minimalism (Adams).