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World-acclaimed conductor to direct National Symphony Orchestra at The Center

By February 7, 2011No Comments

2011 American Residency conductor Hugh Wolff

World-acclaimed conductor Hugh Wolff has appeared with nearly all of the major U.S. orchestras from New York to Los Angeles, and is in high demand on the international stage.

Throughout February, Wolff will again lead the National Symphony Orchestra—where he began his professional career 32 years ago—as the 2011 American Residency conductor.

On Thursday, Feb. 24, Wolff will take the stage at The Center for Rural Development in Somerset to conduct the 100-piece orchestra in its performance for Kentucky’s Fifth Congressional District.

Set to begin at 7:30 p.m. in The Center’s theatre, the concert is part of the 2011 American Residencies proudly presented by the Kentucky Arts Council in partnership with the National Symphony Orchestra.

For tickets, visit or call The Center Box Office at 606-677-6000.

From Feb. 17-25, the orchestra will travel across Kentucky—the 21st state to host the American Residencies program—to present a series of major concerts, educational, outreach, and performance-related activities in each of the state’s six congressional districts.

The Center’s performance is exclusive for the Fifth Congressional District—represented by U.S. Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers of Somerset—and is the sixth and final stop on the Kentucky tour.

“The chance to see the National Symphony Orchestra perform live in concert is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for residents in Southern and Eastern Kentucky,” Dianna Winstead, associate director of arts, culture, and events for The Center, said. “The orchestra, housed in the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., regularly participates in events of national and international importance, including performances for state occasions, presidential inaugurations, and official holiday celebrations.”

Wolff, one of the leading conductors of his generation, began his professional career in 1979 as associate conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra under Mstislav Rostropovich, spending six years on the orchestra’s conducting roster. He then went on to become music director of Chicago’s Grant Park Music Festival.

From 1988-2000, he served as principal conductor and then music director of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, where he recorded 20 discs and toured the United States, Europe, and Japan. Subsequently, he was principal conductor of the Frankfurt Radio Orchestra (1997-2006), with whom he maintains a close relationship. Together, they have toured Europe, Japan, and China and appeared at the Salzburg Rheingau and Mozart Wurzburg Festivals.

Wolff has an extensive discography on the Teldec label, with works ranging from Haydn to Stravinsky with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Philharmonia Orchestra in London. His recordings for Decca include a disc of works by Aaron Jay Kernis with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (Argo label) and a disc with Jean-Yves Thibaudet and the BBC Symphony Orchestra. He has also recorded the Barber and Meyer Violin Concertos with Hilary Hahn for Sony Classicals, which, along with the disc of Antheil Symphonies 1 and 6, won a 2001 Cannes Classical Award.

Born in Paris in 1953 to American parents, Wolff spent his early years in London and Washington D.C. After graduating from Harvard, Wolff returned on a fellowship to Paris, where he studied conducting with Charles Bruck and composition with Olivier Messiaen. He then continued his studies in Baltimore with Leon Fleisher.

“The Center is excited to be a part of this concert performance in partnership with the Kentucky Arts Council and National Symphony Orchestra,” Winstead said. “We are delighted to offer audiences in our region and throughout the state a chance to see and hear this world-renowned orchestra and world-class conductor perform live at The Center for Rural Development.”

Proud media sponsors include Clear Channel Lake Cumberland and The Commonwealth Journal.

American Residencies are sponsored in part by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, as it has been since 1994.  Duke Energy is the Supporting Sponsor of the 2011 NSO Kentucky Residency.  The NSO American Residency concert in Lexington is supported in part by Windstream Communications.  Since 2006, the chamber music and outreach performances have been supported by the Kennedy Center Abe Fortas Memorial Fund for chamber music and by a major gift to the fund from the late Carolyn E. Agger, widow of Abe Fortas.

For more information or to purchase tickets, contact The Center for Rural Development at 606-677-6000 or visit