What's on my desk today…
I’m very excited to be starting my new position as music director of the Belgian National Orchestra. I first conducted this orchestra in 2010 and our relationship deepened each time since. I am so impressed with the musicians’ enthusiasm and commitment and believe we can make a real impact in a rapidly changing musical landscape. Belgium and Brussels are at the heart of the European Union, whose very existence is premised on cooperation among different cultures. The survival and the success of this endeavor have never been more important. The arts - and music in particular - have a critical role to play and I’m excited to be part of that.
The new year began with concerts in Belgium and has a special focus on Claude Debussy (the centennial of his death) and Leonard Bernstein (the centennial of his birth). This month I’ll perform Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms (a work I sang as a chorister years ago under the composer’s direction). Later this year, I’ll conduct his ballet Fancy Free in Vienna, the Serenade in Boston and Three Dance Episodes from On the Town at Aspen. The Debussy works I’m performing are La Mer and Jeux in Boston. I’m especially looking forward to the world premiere of Aaron Jay Kernis' Symphony no. 4, intriguingly subtitled "Chromelodeon". New England Conservatory helped commission this piece and we’ll present it at Symphony Hall in Boston in April.
"Mr. Wolff and his young charges closed the concert with a bang-up performance of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 6. The Presto finale, with the young players reveling in the thrill of collective virtuosity, was sheer joy." - The New York Times
"Wolff's Shostakovich 10 was powerful, three-dimensional and devastating, and the Atlanta Symphony blossomed by his approach. Much of the opening movement builds to an unbearable tension. Wolff paced it tautly and meaningfully, with understated authority. When the music finally crossed that emotional threshold and plummeted into some dark netherworld of a broken psyche, Wolff did not, would not, relent... Credit Wolff with delivering the crucial essence of a harrowing masterpiece of the 20th century."
"Conductor Hugh Wolff presided over one of the Utah Symphony’s most high-spirited programs of the season on Friday. From Beethoven’s ever-popular “Leonore” Overture No. 3 to Saint-Saëns’ playful Cello Concerto No. 1 to Charles Ives’ invigorating Symphony No. 2, the concert was a sheer delight."
"Under Wolff's careful guidance, the [Minnesota] orchestra gave this music [Adès] the sort of wham-bam-socko performance it needs. Wolff, the former music director of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, is a gifted conductor who should be seen here more often."
"The evening's strength was the conductor, Hugh Wolff, an urbane host who without undue Sturm und Drang made Mendelssohn's Scottish Symphony, the composer's third, an absolute delight."
Click here to read the full review from the Washington Post