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.
As a conductor he has a well-defined vision on the functioning of a symphony orchestra and a special interest in education: he strives to make symphonic music more interesting and appealing for youngsters. In addition, Hugh Wolff emphasizes the importance of a thematic approach of each concert, he also does so for each concert season. He is known for his creative programming and placing opposing works together.
Hugh Wolff has previously visited the National Orchestra of Belgium to conduct Mahler's Third Symphony (in 2010) and First (in 2012). In September of 2017, Hugh Wolff takes over the baton from Andrey Boreyko, the music director of the Belgian National Orchestra since 2012.