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Hugh Wolff

Hugh Wolff (born 21 October 1953 in Paris) is an American conductor.

He was born in Paris while his father was serving in the U. S. Foreign Service, then spent his primary-school years in London. He received his higher education at Harvard and at Peabody Conservatory. Between Harvard and Peabody, he spent a year in Paris where he studied composition with Olivier Messiaen and conducting with Charles Bruck. At Peabody, he studied piano with Leon Fleisher.

He began his career in 1979 as assistant conductor to Mstislav Rostropovich at the National Symphony Orchestra, in Washington, D.C.[1] and as music director of the orchestra of Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Wolff then served as music director of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra from 1986 to 1993.[2] In 1985 he was awarded the Seaver/National Endowment for the Arts Conductors Award.

From 1988–1992, Wolff was Principal Conductor of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and then served as its Music Director from 1992–2000. He was Principal Conductor of the Grant Park Music Festival from 1994–1997, and from 1997-2006 was Chief Conductor of the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra (which changed its name to the hr Symphony Orchestra in 2005).

Wolff has conducted major orchestras around the world, including the foremost American orchestras - the New York Philharmonic,[3] Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra, and San Francisco Symphony - and the London Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia (London), Orchestre National de France, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Berlin and Bavarian Radio Orchestras, and orchestras in Australia, Japan, Korea, and Canada. He has recorded extensively for Teldec, Sony and others, has been nominated three times for a Grammy and has twice won the Cannes Classical Award. His discography includes the complete Beethoven symphonies with the Frankfurt Radio Orchestra. As a conductor he has accompanied recordings by Rostropovich, Yo-Yo Ma, Joshua Bell, Hilary Hahn, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Dawn Upshaw, Thomas Hampson, Jennifer Larmore, and jazz guitarist John Scofield.

In addition to his performing career, Wolff is Director of Orchestras and teaches orchestral conducting at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts.

Wolff lives in Boston with his wife, the harpist and author Judith Kogan. They have three sons.


  1. ^ , 10 October 2003.Washington PostTim Page, "A Happy Return for Wolff and the NSO".
  2. ^ , 23 November 1988.New York TimesDonal Henehan, "Hugh Wolff Conducts".
  3. ^ , 3 February 1989.New York TimesDonal Henehan, "Quick Answers in Conductor's Debut ".

External links

  • Homepage
  • Hugh Wolff at AllMusic
  • NEC Announces Director of Orchestras
Cultural offices
Preceded by
Thomas Michalak
Music Director, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra
Succeeded by
Zdeněk Mácal
Preceded by
Christopher Hogwood
Music Director, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra
Succeeded by
Andreas Delfs
Preceded by
Dmitri Kitajenko
Principal Conductor, hr Symphony Orchestra
Succeeded by
Paavo Järvi
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