Vice-President of Birmingham Conservatoire & Keyboard Consultant
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"Donohoe is a pianist in a class of his own, an interpreter with a quite extraordinary feeling for musical phrasing, a 'sculptor' of the piano; his relentlessly clear representation of thematic conflicts brings the drama to life." Detlef Brandenburg (Schleswig-Holstein, 1993)
Peter Donohoe was born in Manchester in 1953. He studied at the Royal Northern College of Music with Derek Wyndham and then in Paris with Olivier Messiaen and Yvonne Loriod. Since his unprecedented success as joint winner of the 1982 International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, he has developed a distinguished career in Europe, the USA, the Far East and Australasia. He is acclaimed as one of the foremost pianists of our time, for his musicianship, stylistic versatility and commanding technique. In 2006 he was invited by the Netherlands to be Ambassador for Music in the Middle East.
During the 2010/11 season, he performed all of Beethoven's piano sonatas at Birmingham Conservatoire in aid of a new Prize for Young Pianists in his name. During the 2007/8 season Peter Donohoe's performances include the City of Birmingham Symphony and Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestras, an extensive tour to South America and concerts in Moscow and St Petersburg. He will also take part in a major Messiaen Festival in the Spanish city of Cuenca, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the composer's birth and performs solo recitals throughout the UK, including London's Cadogan Hall. Last season Peter Donohoe's engagements included the complete works for piano and orchestra by Tchaikovsky with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.
Peter Donohoe played with the Berliner Philharmoniker in Sir Simon Rattle's opening concerts as Music Director. He has also recently performed with all the major London Orchestras, Royal Concertgebouw, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Munich Philharmonic, Swedish Radio, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Vienna Symphony and Czech Philharmonic Orchestras. He was an annual visitor to the BBC Proms for seventeen years and has appeared at many other festivals including six consecutive visits to the Edinburgh Festival, La Roque d'Anthéron in France, and at the Ruhr and Schleswig Holstein Festivals in Germany. In the United States, his appearances have included the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Boston, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Detroit Symphony Orchestras. Peter Donohoe has worked with many of the worlds' greatest conductors including Christoph Eschenbach, Neeme Jarvi, Lorin Maazel, Kurt Masur, Andrew Davis and Yevgeny Svetlanov.
Peter Donohoe is a keen chamber musician and performs frequently with the pianist Martin Roscoe. They have given performances in London and at the Edinburgh Festival and have recorded discs of Gershwin and Rachmaninov. Other musical partners have included the Maggini Quartet, with whom he has made recordings of several great British chamber works.
In 2001 Naxos released a disc of music by Finzi, the first of a major series of recordings which aims to raise the public's awareness of British piano repertoire through concert performance and recordings. Discs of music by Rawsthorne, Bliss, Darnton, Rowley, Ferguson, Gerhard, Alwyn, Pitfield and Harty have now also been released to great critical acclaim.
Peter Donohoe has made many fine recordings on EMI Records and has won awards for them including the Grand Prix International du Disque Liszt and the Gramophone Concerto award for the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto no. 2. His recordings of Messiaen with the Netherlands Wind Ensemble for Chandos Records and Litolff for Hyperion have also received widespread acclaim.
Peter Donohoe maintains a strong artistic link with the area in which he now lives with his wife Elaine and daughter Jessica. His close association with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra dates back to 1974 and he was artistic director of the Solihull Festival during the period 1991-96. He is Vice-President of the Birmingham Conservatoire and has been awarded Honorary Doctorates of Music from the Universities of Birmingham, Central England (now Birmingham City University), Warwick, East Anglia and Leicester.