Skip to page content

Hugh Wolff


About this Artist

The American conductor HUGH WOLFF [] is among the leading conductors of his generation. He was born in 1953 in Paris of American parents. After graduating from Harvard, Wolff returned on a fellowship to Paris, where he studied conducting with Charles Bruck and composition with Olivier Messiaen. He then continued his studies in Baltimore with Leon Fleisher.

Wolff began his professional career as Associate Conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington under Mstislav Rostropovich in 1979. He then served as Music Director of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra from 1985-1992. His association with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra began with his appointment as its Principal Conductor in 1988; he held the position of Music Director from 1992-2000. He has toured with the orchestra in the United States, Europe, and Japan.

Wolff became Principal Conductor of the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra in September 1997. In 2003 he extended his contract for a second time, until the end of season 2005/06. Wolff has made several recordings with the orchestra, and has appeared at the Salzburg Festival, the Rheingau Festival, and the Mozart Festival in W├╝rzburg, and in France, Italy, and Estonia, as well as on a highly acclaimed three-week tour of Japan.

He appears regularly with all the major North American orchestras, including those of Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Toronto, and he has conducted leading ensembles in Canada, Australia, and Japan. European engagements include appearances with the Leipzig Gewandhaus, NDR Hamburg, and Philharmonia Orchestras, and the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie, the BBC Philharmonic, the Oslo Philharmonic, the Danish National Radio Symphony, the Orchestre National de Lyon, and the Czech Philharmonic.

Wolff has an extensive discography on the Teldec label, with works ranging from Haydn to Stravinsky with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Philharmonia Orchestra. His recordings for Decca include a disc of works by Aaron Jay Kernis with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (Argo), and a disc with Jean-Yves Thibaudet and the BBC Symphony Orchestra. He has also recorded the Barber and Meyer Violin Concertos with Hilary Hahn for Sony Classical, which along with the disc of Antheil Symphonies 1 and 6, won a 2001 Cannes Classical Award.

Wolff and his wife, Judith Kogan, have three sons: Alexander, Matthew, and Aaron.