Born in Lancashire in 1932, Hugh Wood initially studied history in Oxford, before taking up his musical studies with Anthony Milner, Iain Hamilton and Mátyás Seiber. He subsequently held various music teaching posts throughout his career: at Morley College, the Royal Academy of Music, as well as at Glasgow, Liverpool and Cambridge Universities. A prolific broadcaster and writer, Hugh Wood’s collected writings Staking out the Territory was published in 2008.
As a composer, Wood has written a number of works for chamber ensemble, including an early string quartet (premiered at the Cheltenham Festival in 1959) followed by a further five string quartets throughout his career.
Wood’s orchestral output began with his symphonic cantata Scenes from Comus (1962-1965); concertos for piano, violin and cello; a symphony; and Variations which was performed at the Last Night of the Proms in 1998. The Serenade and Elegy for string orchestra and string quartet was written in memory of his daughter and premiered in 1999. His work, An Epithalamion, Or Marriage Song, was premiered at the BBC Proms in 2015 by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus under the baton of Sir Andrew Davis.
Wood has written many songs to poems by Laurie Lee, Robert Graves, Ted Hughes, Pablo Neruda, T.S. Eliot and D.H. Lawrence. He won a British Composers Award in 2006 for Wild Cyclamen, commissioned by the Royal Philharmonic Society and the BBC for Andrew Kennedy.
The music of Hugh Wood is published exclusively by Chester Music Ltd.