ABOUT US

IAN HOBSON
pianist and conductor

"Hobson, accustomed to being a piano soloist with all the great orchestras, is as conductor a natural-born phenomenon." (Stuttgarter Zeitung 10/25/97 - Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra)

 
IAN HOBSON

Photo by Christian Steiner

 

Pianist and conductor Ian Hobson—called “powerful and persuasive” by The New York Times— is recognized internationally for his command of an extraordinarily comprehensive repertoire, his consummate performances of the Romantic masters, his deft and idiomatic readings of neglected piano music old and new, and his assured conducting from both the piano and the podium. 

In addition to being a celebrated performer, Mr. Hobson is a dedicated scholar and educator who has pioneered renewed interest in the music of such lesser known masters as Ignaz Moscheles and Johann Hummel.  He has also been an effective advocate of works written expressly for him by a number of today’s noted composers, including Benjamin Lees, John Gardner, David Liptak, Alan Ridout, and Yehudi Wyner.

In the 2017-2018 season Mr. Hobson will present a six-concert series at New York’s downtown venue SubCulture, from November to April, featuring works by Ravel and Debussy. His thoughtful programming matches the subtleties of each composer’s works for each concert; selections include Debussy’s Danse Bohémienne, Suite bergamesque, and Berceuse héroque and Ravel’s Gaspard de la Nuit, Pavane pour une enfant defunt, and Serenade grotesque.

In his most recent season, Mr. Hobson presented a six-concert series in New York City: Preludes, Etudes, and Variations – Downtown/Uptown focusing on outstanding examples of each genre by Chopin, Fauré, Schumann, Rachmaninoff, Debussy, and Szymanowski. The series also expanded the genres by presenting world premieres by Yehudi Wyner (Preludes), Robert Chumbley (Etudes), and Stephen Taylor (Variations). In an earlier season, Mr. Hobson performed the complete solo piano works and chamber music with piano of Johannes Brahms, entitled Johannes Brahms: Classical Inclinations in a Romantic Age. The New York Times’ Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim praised the opening performance in the series in her article “Ian Hobson, Powerful and Persuasive in First of Six Concerts”:

With his powerful sound and clear-eyed command of multiple voices, Mr. Hobson offered a reading of the Opus 25 set that was varied and exciting. He also vividly characterized each of Rachmaninoff’s 10 Opus 23 Preludes, from the boozy impatience of the fifth to the noble singing voice of the concluding Largo.
Mr. Hobson offered as well a persuasive and evocative first performance of Stephen Taylor’s “Variations Ascending,” a kind of evolutionary history of the world in 10 chapters, built around a musical representation of a single gene. 
The New York Times, October 14, 2015

Mr. Hobson continues his concerts as music director of the Sinfonia da Camera, a professional chamber orchestra affiliated with the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts and College of Fine and Applied Arts of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where Mr. Hobson is the Swanlund Emeritus Professor of Music. Further recital and teaching engagements this season take Mr. Hobson throughout the United States and several times to South Korea, where he is a professor at the National University of Seoul. Mr. Hobson will also conduct at the Carnegie Mellon University in January 2018.

An artist of prodigious energy and resource, having to date amassed a discography of some 60 releases, including the complete piano sonatas of Beethoven and Schumann and a complete edition of Brahms’s variations for piano, Mr. Hobson is also in the process of recording a complete edition—the most comprehensive to date—of the works of Frédéric Chopin. Volume 12 of the series was praised by Colin Clarke in Fanfare:

The recording […] is simply superb magnificently clear and holding the burnished sounds of Hobson’s piano perfectly at all dynamic levels. […] Hobson gives the lines plenty of space, nowhere more memorably than when suspended, without accompaniment, as if held free of gravity. Careful pedaling just escapes blurring in octave-dominated passages, and there is a great nobility towards the end. The sense, as the work completes, is of coming to the end of a very significant Chopin recital. All in all, this is one of the finest issues in Hobson’s ongoing, significant traversal of the complete Chopin works.
Fanfare, July/August 2016

As guest soloist, Ian Hobson has appeared with many of the world’s major orchestras; in the United States these include the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Philadelphia Orchestra, the symphony orchestras of Baltimore, Florida, Houston, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and the American Symphony Orchestra and Orquesta Sinfónica de Puerto Rico. Abroad, he has been heard with Great Britain’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Scottish National Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, and Hallé Orchestra, ORF-Vienna, Orchester der Beethovenhalle, Moscow Chopin Orchestra, Israeli Sinfonietta, and New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

Since his debut in the double role of conductor and soloist with the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra in 1996, Maestro Hobson has been invited to lead the English Chamber Orchestra, the Sinfonia Varsovia (including an appearance at Carnegie Hall), the Pomeranian Philharmonic (Poland), the Fort Worth Chamber Orchestra (Bass Hall), and the Kibbutz Chamber Orchestra of Israel, among others.

In addition, Mr. Hobson is a much sought-after judge for national and international competitions and has been invited to join numerous juries, among them the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition (at the specific request of Mr. Cliburn), the Arthur Rubinstein Competition in Poland, the Chopin Competition in Florida, the Leeds Piano Competition in the U.K., and the Schumann International Competition in Germany.  In 2005 Hobson served as Chairman of the Jury for the Cleveland International Competition and the Kosciuzsko Competition in New York; in 2008 he was Chairman of Jury of the New York Piano Competition; and in 2010 he again served in that capacity of the newly renamed New York International Piano Competition.

One of the youngest ever graduates of the Royal Academy of Music, Mr. Hobson began his international career in 1981 when he won First Prize at the Leeds International Piano Competition, after having earned silver medals at both the Arthur Rubinstein and Vienna-Beethoven competitions. Born in Wolverhampton, England, he studied at Cambridge University (England), and at Yale University, in addition to his earlier studies at the Royal Academy of Music.  A professor in the Center for Advanced Study at the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign), Hobson received the endowed chair of Swanlund Professor of Music in 2000.