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Hugh Hinton

Hugh Hinton
Piano; Collaborative Piano

Hailed for his “aristocratic approach to musicmaking” (Cleveland Plain Dealer) and called “an exceptionally fine interpreter of contemporary music” (Boston Globe), pianist Hugh Hinton has performed throughout the United States and abroad, as a soloist, chamber musician and collaborative pianist. He has performed at New York’s Merkin Hall, Jordan Hall and Gardner Museum in Boston, Phillips Collection (Washington, DC) and Flagler Museum (Palm Beach, FL.) International appearances include Japan, Korea, Australia, Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, England, Italy, and a tour of the Middle East (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, and Syria) sponsored by the United States Information Agency. He has appeared with the Phoenix, Honolulu (Hawaii) and New Hampshire Symphonies, and with the Florida Philharmonic, under the batons of conductors JoAnn Falletta, James Sedares, Derrick Inouye and James Bolle. Hinton has appeared at many summer music festivals, including performances at Tanglewood’s Seiji Ozawa Hall, and at the Monadnock Festival in New Hampshire, where he performed Elliott Carter’s Piano Quintet. He has frequently performed chamber music with members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Boston Symphony Orchestra Prelude and Community Chamber Concerts, and appeared with members of the St. Louis Symphony at the Missouri Chamber Music Festival. A champion of contemporary music, Hinton performed music by John Cage under the supervision of the composer, and premiered compositions by Chinary Ung, Jeffrey Mumford, Osvaldo Golijov, Augusta Read Thomas, and Pulitzer-winner Bernard Rands. A special project was Stockhausen’s Mantra, a landmark 70-minute work for two pianos and electronics performed at the REDCAT recital hall in the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. Hinton had a long musical relationship with Pulitzer-winner Donald Martino, working closely with the composer on many pieces, and recording Martino’s 12 Preludes for Solo Piano for New World Records. Hinton’s recordings of contemporary and chamber music have been released by the Naxos, Etcetera, CRI, New World, Newport Classics, and MMC labels, and many can be found on YouTube and music streaming sites. A prizewinner in the Casadesus (Cleveland) and Washington International Piano Competitions, Hinton has also received the Arthur W Foote Award, the Samuel and Esther Chester Performance Award, and was chosen to be a United States Information Service Artistic Ambassador.

Hinton has been a member of the imaginative contemporary music group Core Ensemble since its founding in 1993. He has performed with Core Ensemble in all 50 US states. Core Ensemble has pioneered programs that meld chamber music with theater, advancing a vision of social justice. Core Ensemble programs highlight the music of African American, Latinx, Asian and women composers. Core Ensemble has performed in schools and community centers nationwide, bringing its music beyond the concert hall. Core Ensemble has also developed community-based oral history music theater programs, bringing the stories of marginalized communities, such as farmworkers and immigrants, to the stage.

A native of Louisiana, Hinton earned a Bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and Master’s and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from New England Conservatory. He studied piano with Lev Vlassenko, Mykola Suk, Russell Sherman, Wha-Kyung Byun, Jeaneane Dowis, Jonathan Woods, and Constance Carroll. Hinton began lessons at age six, performed in public at age eight, and soon appeared with local orchestras. While in high school, he performed in youth concerts with the Boston and Dallas Symphonies and the New Orleans Philharmonic.

A passionate educator, Hinton has taught piano at the Longy School of Music of Bard College since 1998, and is in demand as an adjudicator and for master classes. Hinton also teaches contemporary piano at Longy, introducing students to chance music, playing inside the piano, graphic notation and performing the music of John Cage. Hinton’s piano students are frequently accepted into DMA programs, and can be found in professional careers throughout the music field. In addition to concertizing and teaching, Hinton is active as a church musician, liturgical pianist and organist, and can guide students interested in this area. Hinton is music director and organist at Plymouth Congregational Church (UCC) in Belmont, MA, and directs campus music activities at Merrimack College (North Andover, MA.)

Cleveland Plain Dealer:

“…a rare blend of intellect, expressive depth and spontaneity…He held the audience rapt.”

Boston Globe:

“… often formidable, always intelligent and ultimately compelling…Hugh Hinton’s playing, which was alert to every nuance, made one happy to be there.”

Boston Herald:

“…a stunningly complex and complete performance…This was the genuine item.”

Teaching Philosophy

I focus on nurturing and developing the individual voice of each student. I am fortunate to have studied with wonderful pianists from different musical traditions: Lev Vlassenko (Moscow Conservatory), Russell Sherman (student of Eduard Steuermann), Jeaneane Dowis (assistant to Rosina Lhevinne) and Constance Carroll (pianist in the Tobias Matthay tradition). From these disparate experiences, I have come to understand that there is more than one path to making beautiful music at the piano. I have also synthesized points of commonality, especially in terms of fundamental piano technique (arm weight, rotation, relaxation, hand position, preparation, and touch.) In addition to teaching the standard repertoire, I encourage students explore lesser-known pieces of the past and the contemporary music of today. Refreshing and enlarging the repertoire is vital to keeping the art of the piano alive for contemporary audiences. With a solid grounding in piano traditions, students need not be tied to the past, but have the freedom to create new forms for the future.