Early music pioneer who influenced a generation passes away at 73.
Baroque music specialist and period instrument pioneer Christopher Hogwood has died at the age of 73. A multi-faceted musician, he was widely esteemed as a harpsichordist, conductor, musicologist and broadcaster, and as one of the world’s foremost specialists in the music of Handel. He was best known, however as the founder of period instrument orchestra The Academy of Ancient Music.
In a statement, the current Music Director of the AAM, Richard Egarr said: “I am deeply saddened by the news of Christopher’s passing. Christopher provided a fantastic legacy for me to build upon when I joined as Music Director in 2006 and I know he will be greatly missed by all who knew and worked with him.”
Born in Nottingham 1941, Hogwood studied keyboard at Cambridge University with Gustav Leonhardt and Rafael Puyana as well as conducting with Raymond Leppard. After graduating he pursued further harpsichord studies with Zuzana Růžičková in Prague under a British Council scholarship before finding work as a keyboardist and musicologist with the Academy of Saint Martin-in-the-Fields under Sir Neville Marriner.
In 1967 Hogwood founded the Early Music Consort of London along with musicologist David Munrow, and in 1973 founded the period instrument orchestra The Academy of Ancient Music in Cambridge. The Early Music Consort was disbanded following Munrow’s tragic suicide in 1976, but Hogwood continued to perform and record with the Academy of Ancient Music. For three decades Hogwood led the orchestra and made over 200 recordings including the first edition of the complete complete symphonies of Mozart on period instruments and a widely celebrated recording of Handel’s Messiah with Dame Emma Kirkby, Judith Nelson, Carolyn Watkinson, Paul Elliott, and David Thomas as the soloists.
From 1976-1980 Hogwood was Artistic Director of the King’s Lynn Festival. He went on to become a professor at Harvard University as well as music director of the Chamber Orchestra of Basel in Switzerland. He also regularly worked with the Philharmonic Orchestra of Radio France in 2002 including the Orange Choregies where he directed The Magic Flute by Mozart.
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.
Hogwood stepped down as Music Director of the AAM in 2006, but remained Emeritus Director up until his death. Honorary President of the AAM, Christopher Purvis CBE said of him: “Christopher had extraordinary generosity of spirit. He was a great ambassador for historically informed music, the movement of which he was a founder.”
Christopher Hogwood (September 10, 1941 – September 24, 2014)