Skip to main content

Angela Hewitt, pianist

Angela Hewitt in Concert
Friday, February 12, 2010 at 8pm, Roy Thomson Hall
60 Simcoe Street, Toronto

On May 10, 1985, pianist Angela Hewitt stepped out on stage at the 1st and only ever Toronto International Bach Piano Competition for her own-choice virtuoso piece, knowing her career was virtually in the balance. While she wasn't available for an interview, understandably, she does like to share with her fans and fellow music/Bach enthusiasts online in various forms, including her own website, and in an online post reminiscing about the win, she says,

For ten years, since the age of 16, I had been on the international piano competition circuit, winning many prizes but lacking the “big one”. Winning this would, I knew, launch me worldwide and put an end to competitions for life.

She launched into a version of Liszt’s “Aprės une Lecture de Dante” that left the competition behind, and a jury that included pianist Leon Fleisher, composer Olivier Messiaen and his pianist wife, Yvonne Loriod, and Russian composer Rodion Shchedrin awarded her first place. As she had judged, it launched an enviable professional career of concerts, collaborations and recordings. Enviable - but nonetheless a life she took on with a sense of responsibility.

And I say “the door had been opened” because in fact that is all it is. An immense opportunity to then build a life with music: to keep showing time after time that you were worthy of it; that you can continue to grow as a person and as a pianist; that you can withstand constant, enormous pressure; that you have the repertoire to sustain 100 concerts a year; that you can put up with constant travelling and never being at home.But that after 25 years of doing so, you can still get up on stage and feel the freshness of a piece you have played all your life and play it with all your heart.

On February 12, at that same Roy Thomson Hall, Hewitt reprises the programme that won the prize, including Bach’s Italian Concerto; Beethoven’s Sonata in D major, Op. 10 No. 3; and Brahms’s Sonata in F minor, Op. 5. Her current tour has seen her play Carnegie Hall (February 6). That concert ended her tour with the celebrated Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and she'll cross the continent to Oregon later this month before heading back to Europe.

Ms Hewitt grew up in Ottawa, born into a musical family that included a father who was a church organist. Her own musical involvement began early, at age 3, and she gave her first solo recital at Toronto's Royal Conservatory of Music at the tender age of 9.

In 1994, well established in her professional life, she set out to record Bach's complete Well-Tempered Clavier, an undertaking whose results are available on Hyperion Records, and one that took her 11 years. The results were immediately acclaimed as the new gold standard for Bach on the keyboard - described as “one of the record glories of our age” by The Sunday Times. She was Gramophone's Artist of the Year in 2006 not for Bach, but a recording of Beethoven Piano Sonatas.

In 2007 she took WTC on the road, a long road that took her from Colombia to South Africa, playing an exhausting repertoire of both books in full over two concerts on two consecutive days. Indeed, if you read a few of the reviews here and there, the only complaint seems to be the amount of time the reviewer had to spend sitting on his duff while Ms Hewitt played. You can check a taste of it out yourself here Live from Bridgewater Hall in Manchester, U.K. in June 2008 as part of her Bach world tour. In 2008, after 58 cities on 6 continents, the tour ended, and she recorded a new version of the Well-Tempered Clavier to universal accolades.

Ms Hewitt recently won Artist of the Year - Instrumentalist at the 2010 MIDEM Awards. Nowadays she lives in London, with homes in both Ottawa and sunny Italy, where every year she runs the Trasimeno Music Festival.

You can read the rest of Angela's reminsces on her 1985 win at this link. The evening - on the 12th - should prove sublime.


What Else Is Hot This Week?

Harlem Stage Digital Event: A Drop Of Midnight October 13 & 15 2020

From a release:Harlem Stage Digital Event:
A Drop Of Midnight
October 13 & 15 2020A two-part conversation with Jason ‘Timbuktu’ Diakité and his creative team around the developmental process of creating his autobiographical theater project, A Drop of Midnight. In this conversation Jason will take us on his journey to becoming one of Sweden’s chart-topping hip-hop artists and a best-selling author. He’ll also share the story of how a mixtape from Brooklyn traveled across the waters to the tiny village of Lund, Sweden and altered the course of his life forever. We will examine the impact of hip hop music and culture on the globe. How has hip-hop united communities of color globally?  How do you translate a personal story into a universal truth? How do you build a creative team? How has the current climate of social justice informed your artistic practice? Jason will read excerpts from the play and share some of the music. October 13—Part IIn this conversation A Drop of Midnight author…

Review: Night of the Kings / La Nuit des Rois by Philippe Lacôte

Night of the Kings
La Nuit des Rois
by Philippe LacôteA France, Côte d'Ivoire, Canada and Senegal co-productionNow Playing In The New York Film FestivalImageAfter Venice and the Toronto Film Festival, Philippe Lacôte's Night of the Kings has moved on to conquer New York City. A young pickpocket (Koné Bakary), is incarcerated in the giant La MACA prison, the largest in Côte d’Ivoire. The prison offers a hostile atmosphere, where the guards have long given up keeping order and the prisoners run the show, albeit confined within the prison walls. They dance, sing, and mingle at will in a common area called The Jungle. There is a violent power struggle between Lord Blackbeard (Steve Tientcheu), who runs things, and the younger leaders of other factions. Blackbeard is old and infirm, and he knows he can't hold on forever. But, he does want to hold on long enough to leave on his own terms. Blackbeard designates the newcomer as the new storyteller - the griot - called Roma…

So You Can't Go: Six Ways To Travel Virtually

So You Can't Go:
Six Ways To Travel VirtuallyTravel is limited for most of us in the world these days. For Canadians, it depends on the province you live in, but with the border to the US still closed, and other options limited at best, virtual travel from the couch can provide at least a view with a difference at a time when you may well need it most. Google Cardboard – VR On A BudgetYou don't need a lot of cash to get into travel via virtual reality. Google Cardboard is a line of VR viewers that are, well, made of cardboard, and are priced starting at $12CAD.If you check out this link, you'll find out how to download the software to your smartphone.At this link, you can get yourself an actual Google Cardboard for a hands-free VR experience. Google Cardboard apps offer a variety of ways to experience our beautiful planet, including Google Earth itself, which can take you anywhere, along with apps to view museums and cultural artifacts, and more.Ascape VRAscape has a huge l…

Modern Romanticism | Stanley Grill: And I Paint Stars with Wings (Innova Recordings / February 14, 2020)

Modern Romanticism:
Stanley Grill: And I Paint Stars with Wings
In praise of mysteries
(Innova Recordings / February 14, 2020)Composers: Stanley Grill
Performers: Camerata Philadelphia, Stephen Framil, Brett Douglas, Deubner, Peggy Pei-Ju YuCheck Out The Release On Innova RecordingsAmerican composer Stanley Grill is about to release another album of his work, so I thought I'd catch up on the last one, And I Paint Stars with Wings. 
His work with Camerata Philadelphia and others on the release is melodic and evocative, modern romanticism with achingly sweet harmonies. Grill's goal is to use his music to encourage thoughts of world peace, most obviously evidenced in Pavanne (for a world without war) for string orchestra. It's part of his Music for Peace project, composed, as described by the composer “after having made a decision that my music needed to serve another purpose besides the obvious one of touching the hearts of those who listened to it. However unlikely of success, t…

Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company Spring 2013 Toronto Performances

From a media release:

The new season brings
Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company
to new heights and new audiences

March 20-24, 2013 - A Night in Madrid
April 25-28, 2013 - Annual Toronto Season - World Premiere of Portales

TORONTO : Following on the heels of Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company's (EESDC) 30th anniversary year where its production Aguas/Waters was named one of the top five dance shows of 2012 by NOW Magazine, the early months of 2013 are full of excitement and possibility for Esmeralda and the company, which brings the finest flamenco and Spanish Classical Dance to Toronto stages.

March 20-24, 2013 - A Night in Madrid
Company dancers Esmeralda Enrique and Paloma Cortés perform Spanish Classical dance with the celebrated Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir for A Night in Madrid featuring the Iberian flavoured music of composer Luigi Boccherini who made his home in Spain. His work is infused with the sounds of Spanish and gypsy folk music.

March 20-24 …