Christopher Hogwood

Christopher Hogwood

Hogwood leading rehearsals for his final Gresham College lecture in 2014
Born Christopher Jarvis Haley Hogwood
(1941-09-10)10 September 1941
Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England
Died 24 September 2014(2014-09-24) (aged 73)
Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England
Nationality English

Christopher Jarvis Haley Hogwood CBE (10 September 1941  24 September 2014) was an English conductor, harpsichordist, writer, and musicologist. Founder of the early music ensemble the Academy of Ancient Music, he was an authority on historically informed performance and a leading figure in the early music revival of the late 20th century.

Early life and education

Born in Nottingham, Hogwood studied music and classical literature at Pembroke College, Cambridge. He went on to study performance and conducting under Raymond Leppard, Mary Potts and Thurston Dart; and later with Rafael Puyana and Gustav Leonhardt. He also studied in Prague with Zuzana Ruzickova for a year, under a British Council scholarship.[1]


In 1967, Hogwood co-founded the Early Music Consort with David Munrow. In 1973 he founded the Academy of Ancient Music, which specializes in performances of Baroque and early Classical music using period instruments.[1] The Early Music Consort was disbanded following Munrow's death in 1976, but Hogwood continued to perform and record with the Academy of Ancient Music.

From 1981, Hogwood conducted regularly in the United States. He was Artistic Director of Boston's Handel and Haydn Society from 1986 to 2001, and for the remainder of his life held the title of Conductor Laureate. From 1983 to 1985 he was artistic director of the Mostly Mozart Festival in the Barbican Centre in London. From 1988 to 1992, he was musical director of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra in Minnesota.[1]

In 1994 he conducted the Handel and Haydn Society in a recreation of the concert that premiered Beethoven's Sixth and Fifth symphonies for the Historic Keyboard Society of Milwaukee.[2]

Hogwood leading a rehearsal for his Gresham College lecture in 2013

Hogwood conducted a considerable amount of opera. He made his operatic debut in 1983, conducting Don Giovanni in St. Louis, Missouri.[1] He worked with Berlin State Opera; La Scala, Milan; Royal Opera Stockholm; the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden, Chorégies d'Orange and Houston Grand Opera. With Opera Australia, he performed Idomeneo in 1994 and La Clemenza di Tito in 1997. In 2009, he returned to the Royal Opera House to conduct the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment in Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, and Handel's Acis and Galatea. 2009 also saw him conducting Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress at the Teatro Real in Madrid, in a production directed by Robert Lepage. In late 2010 and early 2011, he conducted a series of performances of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro at Zurich Opera House.

On 1 September 2006, harpsichordist Richard Egarr succeeded Hogwood as Music Director of the Academy of Ancient Music and Hogwood assumed the title of Emeritus Director. Hogwood said he expected to conduct 'at least one major project' with the Academy each year. He conducted the Academy in a series of concert performances of Handel operas which began in 2007 with Amadigi. 2008 saw performances of Flavio, and the series concluded in May 2009, the Handel anniversary, with Arianna in Creta. In 2013 he conducted the Academy in Imeneo.[3]

Although Hogwood was best known for the baroque and early classical repertoire, he also performed contemporary music, with a particular affinity for the neo-baroque and neoclassical schools including many works by Stravinsky, Martinů and Hindemith.[1]

He made many solo recordings of harpsichord works (including Louis Couperin, J. S. Bach, Thomas Arne, William Byrd's My Lady Nevells Booke), and did much to promote the clavichord in the Secret Bach/Handel/Mozart series of recordings, which puts in historical context the most common domestic instrument of that epoch. He owned a collection of historical keyboard instruments.[4]

In July 2010, he was appointed Professor of Music at Gresham College, London, a position originally held by John Bull.[5] In this role he delivered four series of free public lectures on Aspects of Authenticity (2010–11), The Making of a Masterpiece (2011–12), European Capitals of Music (2012–13)[6] and Music in Context (2013–14).[7] He was unable to deliver all of his lectures during his final year of appointment due to illness and it was only seven months after his final lecture at the College that he died.[8]

In 2011, Hogwood was a juror for the Westfield International Fortepiano Competition hosted at Cornell University. This was the first fortepiano competition in the United States and only the second competition of its kind in the world.[9]

In 2012, he was appointed Andrew D. White Professor-at-Large at Cornell University, for a six-year term of office. He was a member of Lowell House Senior Common Room in Harvard University.


Hogwood's editing work included music by composers as diverse as John Dowland and Felix Mendelssohn. He was the chairman of the new edition Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach: The Complete Works, which aims to publish a complete edition of C.P.E. Bach's music in 2014.[10]

He was involved with The Wranitzky Project, dedicated to the study and publishing of the music of Moravian composer Paul Wranitzky (1756–1808).[11]

Brahms "discovery"

In 2012 Hogwood's musicological activities came to the attention of a wider public when he announced his discovery of a "previously unknown" piano piece by Johannes Brahms.[12][13] However, it emerged that the work in question, Albumblatt, was already known. The manuscript had been sold at public auction in April 2011, where it was described as "unpublished" and "of great importance," and the manuscript was reproduced in full in the catalog.[14] The work had been given its premiere by Craig Sheppard on 28 April 2011.[15] Sheppard reportedly described Hogwood's claim as "fatuous".[16] The first edition of the piece was published in January 2012 on the Pianostreet website.[17] Hogwood's edition of the piece was published by Bärenreiter in February 2012 along with the Horn Trio in E-flat major, Op. 40, which is thematically related.[18]


Hogwood died in Cambridge on 24 September 2014, aged 73.[19] At the time of his death, he had recently separated from his civil partner, the film director Anthony Fabian.[20][21]


At the time of his death, Hogwood was Honorary Professor of Music in the University of Cambridge, Consultant Visiting Professor of historical performance in the Royal Academy of Music and visiting professor at King's College London. He was Honorary Fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge and Pembroke College, Cambridge.

In 1989, Hogwood was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE). He was a recipient of the Halle Handel Prize in 2008.[22]




  1. 1 2 3 4 5 "Christopher Hogwood". Allmusic. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
  2. Raabe, Nancy (18 April 1994). "Historic concert re-creation establishes performance standard". The Milwaukee Sentinel.
  4. Christopher Hogwood Instrument Collection
  5. Mention of the appointment in the Times Higher Education supplement and More detailed announcement on Christopher Hogwood's website
  6. European Capitals of Music lectures on the Gresham College website
  7. Music in Context lectures on the Gresham College website
  8. Music for Self Promotion: Mozart, Gresham College, 20 February 2014
  9. Westfield
  10. Reviews of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach: The Complete Works
  11. The Wranitzky Project
  12. Alex Needham (2012), Brahms piano piece to get its premiere 159 years after its creation The Guardian
  13. Tom Service, A world premiere... by Brahms!, The Guardian
  14. Doyle New York, Auctioneers and Appraisers, Auction of April 20, 2011, Lot 228
  15. "Craig Sheppard plays the World Premiere of the Brahms Albumblatt in A minor, 28 April, 2011, Seattle". YouTube. 6 February 2012. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
  16. Damian Thompson, A first? Now wait a second
  17. "New Piano Piece by Brahms Discovered: Albumblatt in A minor – Free Piano Score | Piano Street's Classical Piano Blog". 25 January 2012. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
  18. ISMN 979-0-006-54109-6
  19. BBC News, "Conductor Christopher Hogwood dies aged 73", 24 September 2014
  20. "Obituary: Christopher Hogwood CBE, conductor". The Scotsman. 27 September 2014. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
  21. "Christopher Hogwood - obituary". The Telegraph. London. 25 September 2014. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
  22. "HÄNDEL-Festspiele Halle (Saale)". Retrieved 22 February 2013.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Christopher Hogwood.

Cultural offices
Preceded by
no predecessor
Music Director, Academy of Ancient Music
Succeeded by
Richard Egarr
Preceded by
Thomas Dunn
Music Director, Handel and Haydn Society
Succeeded by
Grant Llewellyn

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