Peter Hill

Peter Hill read music at Oxford, before studying the classical repertoire with Cyril Smith (at the RCM), and later with Nadia Boulanger, who wrote describing him as ‘a born artist, a beautiful natural talent’. At the same time he pursued his enthusiasm for contemporary music, winning first prize at Darmstadt in 1974. In the same year he became a founder-member of the ensemble Dreamtiger, helping to organise a number of important series of concerts in London, featuring such composers as Xenakis, Pousseur and Crumb. Peter Hill now lives in Yorkshire and is married with two young daughters.

Peter Hill has appeared at numerous international festivals, and broadcasts regularly in this country and abroad. He has made over a hundred programmes for the BBC, in music ranging from Bach to Brahms, and by most of the major figures of the 20th century; in 1998 a recital of Bach was chosen by the BBC as one of the broadcast highlights of the year. A constant champion of new music, Peter Hill’s recording of works dedicated to him by Howard Skempton, Nigel Osborne and Douglas Yound was a record of the year in the Observer (1987). He made his debut solo recording in 1982 (the piano music of Havergal Brian), receiving outstanding notices in this country and the United States; in Tempo the late John Ogdon described it as ‘a really excellent record suggesting at times the influence of Busoni and Petri... altogether a lovely record’. Among recent CDs is a performance of Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations, described by CD Review as ‘deeply considered, freshly thought and matchless in relating colour to structure... surely the piano recording of 1991’.

In 1994, Peter Hill completed a marathon 7 CD cycle of the piano music of Messiaen, made with the composer’s help and guidance, and receiving his endorsement – ‘Beautiful technique, a true poet: I am a passionate admirer of Peter Hill’s playing’. From the outset the series attracted superlative international acclaim: in this country the first release (of the Preludes) was one of only two piano recordings (the other by Alfred Brendal) to be nominated a ‘classic of the year’ in the Times. Subsequent releases gained numerous awards and distinctions (including twice being shortlisted for the Gramophone Award) and the series as a whole has recently been described as ‘one of the most important recording projects of recent years’ (New York Times).