Peter Donohoe & Sacconi Quartet

Biography Peter Donohoe & Sacconi Quartet

Peter Donohoe & Sacconi Quartet

Peter Donohoe
“I cannot imagine a living pianist capable of improving upon Donohoe’s outstanding artistry” Robert Matthew-Walker, Musical Opinion Peter Donohoe was born in Manchester in 1953. He studied at Chetham’s School of Music for seven years, graduated in music at Leeds University, and went on to study at the Royal Northern College of Music with Derek Wyndham and then in Paris with Olivier Messiaen and Yvonne Loriod. He is acclaimed as one of the foremost pianists of our time, for his musicianship, stylistic versatility and commanding technique.

Donohoe has performed with all the major London orchestras, as well as orchestras from across the world: the Royal Concertgebouw, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Munich Philharmonic, Swedish Radio, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Vienna Symphony and Czech Philharmonic Orchestras. He has also played with the Berliner Philharmoniker in Sir Simon Rattle’s opening concerts as Music Director. He made his twenty-second appearance at the BBC Proms in 2012 and has appeared at many other festivals including six consecutive visits to the Edinburgh Festival, La Roque d’Anthéron in France, and at the Ruhr and Schleswig Holstein Festivals in Germany. In the United States, his appearances have included the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Boston, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Detroit Symphony Orchestras. Peter Donohoe also performs numerous recitals internationally and continues working with his long-standing duo partner Martin Roscoe, as well as more recent collaborations with artists such as Raphael Wallfisch, Elizabeth Watts and Noriko Ogawa.

Donohoe is also in high demand as a jury member for international competitions. He has recently served on the juries at the International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow (2011 and 2015), Busoni International Competition in Bolzano, Italy (2012), Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels (2016), Georges Enescu Competition in Bucharest (2016), Hong Kong International Piano Competition (2016), Artur Rubenstein Piano Master Competition (2017), Lev Vlassenko Piano Competition and Festival (2017), Concours de Geneve Competition (2018), Ferrol Piano Competition (2022), Val Tidone Piano Competition (2022) and Hong Kong International Piano Competition (2022), along with many national competitions both within the UK and abroad.

The 23/24 season kicked off with Peter Donohoe performing as a soloist with the London Symphony Orchestra and Simon Rattle with performances of Messiaen’s Turangalîla-Symphonie in London, Edinburgh, and Bucharest. In January 2024, Peter returns to Philadelphia for performances with the Ama Deus Ensemble and will then travel to Dubai to adjudicate the 3rd Classic Piano Competition 2024.

Peter Donohoe is an honorary doctor of music at seven UK universities, and was awarded a CBE for services to classical music in the 2010 New Year’s Honours List.

Sacconi Quartet
For over two decades, the Sacconi Quartet have been captivating audiences with their unanimous and compelling ensemble, consistently communicating with a fresh and imaginative approach. Formed in 2001, the four founder members share an unwavering passion for the string quartet repertoire, infectiously reaching out to audiences with their energy and enthusiasm. The Sacconis enjoy a busy international career, performing regularly across the world, at Europe’s major venues, in recordings and on radio broadcasts. The Sacconi is Quartet in Association at the Royal College of Music and Quartet in Residence for the town of Folkestone. Unchanged since its inception, Sacconi is Britain’s longest-established string quartet.

The Sacconi’s prolific recording career covers a broad swathe of repertoire from Haydn to present day. Releases of recent years include premiere recordings of works by Panufnik, Jonathan Dove, Graham Fitkin and John McCabe. In Damascus, their album of music by Jonathan Dove including In Damascus, commissioned by the quartet, and featuring Mark Padmore and Charles Owen, hit the Classical Top Ten, and was chosen as one of Gramophone Magazine’s Recordings of the Year: “This important release cannot be recommended too highly”. Their complete recording of Graham Fitkin’s string quartets and their collection of Roxanna Panufnik’s chamber works entitled Heartfelt were released to critical acclaim, and will be followed by further albums of Dove and Fitkin. They celebrated their twenty-first anniversary with a release of Beethoven’s opus 131 alongside Schubert’s Death and the Maiden.

Champions of new music, the Sacconis have given over thirty world premieres. For their twentieth anniversary, the Quartet commissioned Jonathan Dove’s second quartet On the Streets and In the Sky. Their film of Dove’s first quartet Out of Time was released on Amazon in 2021. They continue to give fully staged performances of Beethoven’s opus 131 quartet, entirely from memory, in collaboration with theatre director Tom Morris.

As the result of a generous grant, the Sacconi Quartet are Quartet in Residence for the town of Folkestone and its surrounding areas. This is enabling creative collaborations with local artists and projects, and includes an embedded outreach programme. Performances of Beethoven on the Beach and Glass on the Warren seafront have attracted large audiences, many of them experiencing the energy of chamber music for the very first time. Their Sacconi Chamber Music Festival in Folkestone is firmly established among the UK’s major chamber music festivals and attracts audiences from far and near for its vibrant atmosphere and dynamic programming.

The name Sacconi Quartet comes from the outstanding twentieth-century Italian luthier and restorer Simone Sacconi, whose book The Secrets of Stradivari is considered an indispensable reference for violin makers. Ben Hancox plays a 1932 Sacconi violin and Robin Ashwell a 1934 Sacconi viola, both made in New York. Hannah Dawson plays a 1927 Sacconi violin made in Rome, and Cara Berridge plays a Nicolaus Gagliano cello from 1781. Their gratitude extends to the Royal Society of Musicians and Ellen Solomon for generously providing them with these exceptional instruments.

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