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Hugh Mackay - Cello


…the young Scot also has a brilliant technique, which he showed in the rousingly-played, but very carefully-formed final movement.” Ruhr Nachrichten 2021

Hugh Mackay (b. 2000) is a young Scottish cellist whose varied musical life comprises chamber music, orchestral playing, historically-informed performance and concerto appearances. He has played in leadings festivals including The BBC Proms, Enescu Festival (Bucharest) and Festival Berlioz (France), and venues such as the Royal Albert Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, and The Palace of Versailles.

Most recently Hugh made his debut concerto appearances with the Bremer Philharmoniker under the direction of their chief conductor Marko Letonja, with highly-praised performances in Die Glocke Bremen and the Konzerthaus Dortmund. Since 2021 he has been a scholarship holder with the Mozart Gesellschaft Dortmund, through whose generous support he is able to perform more widely in Germany.

An avid chamber musician, Hugh has performed at Kinnordy Chamber Music Festival, Petworth Festival, Brighton Early Music Festival, North Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, Hatfield Festival and Virtuoso & Belcanto Festival (Lucca). This year he performed alongside fellow emerging artists and the Doric Quartet at the quartet’s festival, Mendelssohn on Mull, bringing an exciting variety of repertoire to communities around the island. From 2019 to 2021 he was the cellist of the Clova Quartet, with whom he performed at Wigmore Hall.

During his undergraduate studies, Hugh was the 1st Prizewinner of the 2020 May Mukle Cello Sonata Prize alongside duo partner, Junyan Chen, 1st Prizewinner of the 2021 Harold Craxton Prize and 1st Prizewinner of the 2019 Isaacs Pirani Piano Trio Competition alongside colleagues Manuel De Almeida-Ferrer and Wouter Valvekens.

In 2019, Hugh was part of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment’s Experience Scheme, working with the orchestra throughout 2019 including concerts at the Enescu Festival in Bucharest. He has worked with many leading conductors such as Trevor Pinnock, Thomas Adès, Edward Gardner, John Wilson, Masaako Suzuki, Nicholas Collon, and Ryan Wigglesworth.

While a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, Hugh was exposed to the leading British venues and recorded works by Strauss and Holst for Chandos Records. In 2017 he played at the Festival Berlioz in La Côte-Saint-André, France with the NYO, playing Stravinsky’s ‘The Rite of Spring’ under the direction of Gerry Cornelius.

Hugh received his formative education at St. Mary’s Music School (Edinburgh) and pursued his undergraduate studies with Hannah Roberts and Jonathan Manson at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he held the Yadegar-Hall Award and was the recipient of a Regency Award and the Sir John Barbirolli Memorial Award. He is currently pursuing further study at the Royal Academy of Music with Hannah Roberts and Jonathan Manson.

Upcoming projects include concerts in January and February with Charlotte Spruit, Edgar Francis and Junyan Chen in London, performing piano chamber music by Clara Schumann and Fauré.

Hugh is grateful for the support of Dewar Arts Awards, the Cross Trust, Help Musicians UK, Battersea United Charities, Talent Unlimited, Beatrice Huntingdon Awards and the Waddell Trust.


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updated February 2022