2002 National Arts Centre Award
Hailed as “the pre-eminent Bach pianist of our time” (The Guardian, London, 2001), Angela Hewitt has captivated thousands of listeners with her dazzling musicianship and stunning virtuosity. Her triumph at the prestigious 1985 Toronto International Bach Piano Competition launched her into the international spotlight, and she has gone on to win rave reviews from audiences and critics around the world, both for her live performances and for her numerous recordings.
Born in Ottawa in 1958 into a musical family (her father was the Cathedral organist for 50 years), Miss Hewitt began piano lessons at three, performed in public at four, and just one year later won her first scholarship. She gave her first recital at age nine at Toronto's Royal Conservatory of Music, where she studied from 1964 to 1973. She then studied with French pianist Jean-Paul Sévilla at the University of Ottawa, graduating with a Bachelor of Music degree at the age of 18. Since 1985 she has made her home in London, England, but returns regularly to Canada.
Prior to her Toronto Bach Competition victory, Angela Hewitt placed first in Italy's Viotti Competition (1978) and was a top prizewinner in the International Bach competitions of Leipzig and Washington, D.C., as well as the Schumann Competition in Zwickau, Germany, the Casadesus Competition in Cleveland, and the Dino Ciani Competition at La Scala, Milan.
In 1994 she embarked on a ten-year project to record all of the major keyboard works by Bach for the Hyperion label, a series which has been called “one of the record glories of our age” (Sunday Times, London). During the year 2000, she gave complete performances of the 48 Preludes and Fugues in Canada, the United States, England, and Germany. She has performed throughout North America and Europe, as well as in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, China, Mexico, and the former Soviet Union.
Miss Hewitt's repertoire is vast, ranging from Bach to the contemporary. Her discography, comprising over a dozen recordings, also includes CDs of Granados, Olivier Messiaen, and most recently the complete solo works of Ravel. She has performed with orchestras across the United States, with the Japan Philharmonic, and with every major orchestra in Canada and Australia.
Her lecture-recitals on Bach and her frequent master classes are widely appreciated by students and teachers alike. She is also a founding member of Piano Six, a visionary touring programme involving six of Canada's top concert pianists (Miss Hewitt, Janina Fialkowska, Marc-André Hamelin, Jon Kimura Parker, Angela Cheng and André Laplante) who take music to the rural communities of Canada.
Awards and honours include: Officer of the Order of Canada, 2002; two Juno Awards, the most recent for Best Instrumental or Chamber CD of 2001 for her disc of Bach arrangements; presented with the Key to the City of Ottawa, 1997; honorary doctorate from the University of Ottawa, 1995.