Christopher Hogwood

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About Christopher Hogwood

Christopher Hogwood’s discography spans a literal A-Z: Albinoni to Zachow. It is testament to a curiosity that not only unearthed long-forgotten repertoire, but crucially also asked pertinent questions about how it should be performed. Born in Nottingham in 1941, Hogwood cut his teeth as a continuo player with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields and, as a member of the Early Music Consort of London, pushed backwards into medieval and Renaissance music. In 1973, however, he formed a period instrument ensemble that would prove a game-changer: the Academy of Ancient Music. Galvanized by a radical 1980 recording of Handel’s Messiah and subsequent forays into the complete symphonies of Mozart and Beethoven, the invitations to conduct symphony orchestras began to flood in. Such was his renown during the 1980s that Hogwood was improbably dubbed the “Karajan of early music.” But he was no dictatorial maestro. He likened the Academy to a refuge for period instrument players who avoided conductors. Musical directorships in the United States included those of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra Minnesota and Boston’s estimable Handel and Haydn Society. Subsequent guest conductorships in Switzerland, Italy, and Poland followed. A scholar and indefatigable keyboardist who never took things for granted, Hogwood has been much missed since his death in 2014—but he paved the way for those who followed.

Nottingham, England
September 10, 1941

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