Pianist Angela Hewitt is to receive the Wigmore Medal on the evening of 2 June 2020, following the final concert of her Bach Odyssey – a four-season survey of the composer’s complete keyboard works, across 12 concerts, which began in 2016. The medal will be awarded to Ms. Hewitt in recognition of her international standing and contribution to Wigmore Hall over the past 35 years.
The Wigmore Medal was inaugurated in 2007 and recognises major international artists and significant figures in the classical music world who have a strong association with the Hall. The relationship between Wigmore Hall and Angela Hewitt has featured throughout her career, with Hewitt giving over 80 performances at the Hall since her debut in 1985. The Wigmore Medal will be awarded to Hewitt in the same year that she receives the City of Leipzig Bach Medal – the first woman and only the second pianist to receive the award. Whilst she is known to many principally for her celebrated interpretations of Bach, her performances at Wigmore Hall have also included focuses on Beethoven, Haydn, Mozart, Schumann, Brahms, Chopin, Chabrier, Ravel, Messiaen and commissions from leading contemporary composers.
Angela Hewitt says:
“Thank you, Wigmore Hall and director John Gilhooly, for awarding me this most prestigious honour, and adding my name to such an illustrious list of former winners. There is no other recital hall stage in the world that feels more like “home” than does Wigmore, and my performances there over the past 35 years have been the backbone of my career, always giving me the inspiration to go on.
“I vividly remember my debut there in January 1985, when I had only just come to live in London and knew hardly anybody. It took me fifteen years of hard work (largely doing the concert marketing myself along with
concert manager Jane Gray) to get to the point where it was sold out in advance. It was worth every leaflet, every stamp and every envelope!
“I wholeheartedly thank William Lyne and John Gilhooly for believing in me, and giving me every opportunity to perform not only Bach, but also the complete works of Ravel, Chabrier, all the Chopin Nocturnes in one evening, for getting me started on Couperin, for commissioning new works from six composers for my Bach Book, and of course to John for having the idea of my current Bach Odyssey in the first place, and then for persuading me to do it. What a wonderful experience it has been! It has also been a joy to share that beautiful stage doing chamber music with fellow musicians as well as giving masterclasses to young pianists. I look forward to many more years of collaboration. Thank you!”
John Gilhooly, Wigmore Hall’s Artistic & Executive Director, says:
“Angela is an exceptional artist, and her performances at Wigmore Hall over the past 35 years have been characterised by a tireless curiosity, technical flair and an overriding sense of artistic integrity. As her landmark Bach Odyssey reaches its conclusion, it is the perfect time to celebrate everything that Angela represents and the great esteem in which she is held by audiences here and around the world.”
Past recipients of the Wigmore Medal include Iestyn Davies, Steven Isserlis, Sir András Schiff, Thomas Quasthoff, Christian Gerhaher, Menahem Pressler, the Takács String Quartet and Dame Felicity Lott.
One of the world’s leading pianists, Angela Hewitt appears in recital and as soloist with major orchestras throughout Europe, the Americas, Australia, and Asia. Her interpretations of the music of J.S. Bach have established her as one of the composer’s foremost interpreters of our time.
Angela Hewitt’s award-winning cycle for Hyperion Records of all the major keyboard works of Bach has been described as “one of the record glories of our age” (The Sunday Times). Begun in 1994, it culminated with her much-awaited recording of Bach’s Art of Fugue in 2014 which immediately hit the charts in the UK and USA. Her extensive discography also includes solo recordings of Scarlatti, Handel, Couperin, Rameau, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Schumann, Liszt, Fauré, Debussy, Chabrier, Ravel, Granados and Messiaen. She has won four Juno Awards, including one for her album of Mozart Concertos with Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra. Other concerto recordings include the complete Bach Concertos with the Australian Chamber Orchestra; the works for piano and orchestra of Schumann with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin; and Messiaen’s mammoth Turangalîla-symphonie with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. In 2015, Hewitt was inducted into Gramophone Magazine’s “Hall of Fame”, reflecting her popularity with music lovers around the world. Recent releases include her second recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, made 15 years after her first.
The Bach Odyssey, sees her performing all the keyboard works of J.S. Bach in a series of twelve recitals between 2016 and 2020, presenting the complete cycle in London, New York, Ottawa, Tokyo, and Florence. The next concert in the series at Wigmore Hall is on 28 March 2020, before the final concert on 2 June, when the Wigmore Medal is presented.