What's on my desk…

It’s a very different cultural landscape today, after more than two years of relentless battering from COVID-19.  Since January 2021, I have travelled to Europe more than a dozen times and seen a variety of responses in the cultural sector to the pandemic.  Some countries continue to require masks at indoor performances; some orchestras still socially distance on stage.  Some do neither.  All are yearning to go back to a normal which may no longer exist.  We should all realize that it is time for greater flexibility, creativity, and cooperation.  In the United States many orchestras suffered grievously, going months without work or wages, then accepting deep pay cuts.  Everywhere, we need to put aside our differences and work together toward a better future.  We must demonstrate the important role the arts can play in healing society.  We must make ourselves indispensable.  If we fail, we may not get another chance.

Recent Press

"Mr. Wolff and his young charges closed the concert with a bang-up performance of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 6. The Presto finale, with the young players reveling in the thrill of collective virtuosity, was sheer joy." – The New York Times

"Wolff's Shostakovich 10 was powerful, three-dimensional and devastating, and the Atlanta Symphony blossomed by his approach. Much of the opening movement builds to an unbearable tension. Wolff paced it tautly and meaningfully, with understated authority. When the music finally crossed that emotional threshold and plummeted into some dark netherworld of a broken psyche, Wolff did not, would not, relent... Credit Wolff with delivering the crucial essence of a harrowing masterpiece of the 20th century."

"Conductor Hugh Wolff presided over one of the Utah Symphony’s most high-spirited programs of the season on Friday. From Beethoven’s ever-popular “Leonore” Overture No. 3 to Saint-Saëns’ playful Cello Concerto No. 1 to Charles Ives’ invigorating Symphony No. 2, the concert was a sheer delight."

"Under Wolff's careful guidance, the [Minnesota] orchestra gave this music [Adès] the sort of wham-bam-socko performance it needs. Wolff, the former music director of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, is a gifted conductor who should be seen here more often."

"The evening's strength was the conductor, Hugh Wolff, an urbane host who without undue Sturm und Drang made Mendelssohn's Scottish Symphony, the composer's third, an absolute delight."

Click here to read the full review from the Washington Post