About Angela Hewitt
Angela Hewitt is a highly esteemed pianist, particularly noted as a Bach performer, but accomplished in an exceptionally large repertory embracing all eras of keyboard music.
Hewitt was born in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on July 26, 1958. The daughter of an organist, Hewitt began to study piano at age three, making her public debut at the age of four, winning a scholarship at six, and eventually adding studies in ballet, voice, violin, and recorder. She entered the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto in 1964, giving her first recital there at the age of nine. In 1973, she entered the University of Ottawa, where she studied with pianist Jean-Paul Sevilla. She graduated from the university with a Bachelor of Music degree at the age of 18.
Hewitt slowly gained recognition, winning some noteworthy competitions, including the International Bach Competitions of Washington and Leipzig, the Schumann Competition in Zwickau, the Casadesus Competition in Cleveland, and the Dino Ciani Competition on the stage of the La Scala opera house in Milan. Her breakthrough came in May of 1985 with a victory at the International Bach Piano Competition in Toronto, held in honor of the late Glenn Gould. This led to a Deutsche Grammophon recording of Bach solo keyboard music that won critical acclaim and established her as one of the great Bach interpreters.
Hewitt has appeared in the world's major recital venues, including Alice Tully Hall in New York, Wigmore Hall in London, the Ravinia Festival in Chicago, among others. She has appeared on the concert platform with orchestras from around the globe, including every major Canadian orchestra, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Orchestra, the Japan Philharmonic, the San Francisco, Minnesota, and Baltimore symphony orchestras, the Philharmonia, Royal Philharmonic, BBC Philharmonic, and the City of London Sinfonia.
Hewitt's vast repertory includes music from Bach to Messiaen. She has done two complete recital cycles of the piano music of Ravel, and has devoted entire single-composer recital programs to Roussel, Brahms, Fauré, Chopin, Schumann, Beethoven, and Brahms. In 2016, Hewitt embarked on her project “The Bach Odyssey”, performing the complete keyboard works of Bach in 12 recitals in London, New York, Ottawa, Tokyo and Florence. This project concluded in 2020. Additionally, Hewitt has strived to add new works to the piano repertoire, having personally commissioned several new works. Included in these are the Piano Concerto No. 2 (2002) by Dominic Muldowney, and Nameless Seas (2017), a piano concerto by Matthew Whittall.
Hewitt frequently records, producing dozens of releases. A major career and recording highlight began in 1994, as Hewitt set out to record all the major clavier music of Bach on piano for the Hyperion label. Included among these are separate studio and live recordings of the Well-Tempered Clavier. This project was completed in 2014, with the finale being her recording of The Art of the Fugue. Though Bach is what she’s known most for, her discography extends well beyond. Hewitt has shown her diversity as a pianist with albums of Granados, Messiaen, Schumann, Ravel, Debussy, among others. 2019 saw the release Hyperion of Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Op. 2 No. 1, Op. 14 No. 2, Op. 53 'Waldstein', Op. 54. Also being an avid chamber music performer, Hewitt has performed with leading vocalists and instrumentalists across North America and Europe. She has accompanied on several releases, including with cellist Daniel Müller-Schott, and flutist Andrea Oliva.
Although she's lived in Paris from 1978-1985, before settling down in London, her residence in these European capitals has not ended her close connection to Canada. From 1994-2004 she was a member of “Piano Six,” an organization devoted to bringing major Canadian piano artists to the far-flung rural communities of the vast country.
Hewitt has received many honorary degrees, including from the University of Ottawa, the University of Toronto, among several others. Hewitt was named an Officer in the Order of Canada in 2000, and promoted to Companion of the Order of Canada in 2015. In 2006, Queen Elizabeth II awarded Hewitt with an Order of the British Empire (OBE). Also in 2006, Hewitt was named “Artist of the Year” at the Gramophone Awards. ~ Joseph Stevenson, Keith Finke