September 25, 2014

University Remembers Prof-at-Large, Musician

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English conductor and A.D. White Professor-at-Large Christopher Hogwood died Wednesday following a months-long illness. He was 73.

Born in 1941 in Nottingham, United Kingdom, Hogwood was a graduate of Cambridge University, which he attended from 1960 to 1964, according to NPR. A “leading light” in creating pre-baroque and baroque pieces, he went on to found the Academy of Ancient Music — which he also conducted — in 1973.

Hogwood was best known for his advocacy of the “early music” movement, which utilizes period instruments and techniques. He created more than 200 recordings with the Academy of Ancient Music, among them the first complete cycle of Mozart’s symphonies, according to NPR.

He was appointed an A.D. White Professor-at-Large at Cornell in 2012, according to a University press release. Along with 16 other individuals, Hogwood was invited to visit Cornell at least twice during his six-year term — which was to last until 2018 — to “enliven the intellectual and cultural life of the university.”

Hogwood visited Cornell on his first stay as an A.D. White Professor-at-Large last October, where he gave a lecture titled “The Past Is a Foreign Country: Why Making Music Matters.” During the lecture, he stressed to audience members that understanding the musicality of the past may help to enrich music of the present day, according to a University press release.

During his week-long stay at Cornell, Hogwood also participated in a symposium on collecting for performance as well as coached the Cornell Chamber Orchestra and Les Petits Violons de Cornell, according to Prof. Robert Raguso, neurobiology and behavior.

“I spoke with him about my children learning piano, about Balinese gamelan, about South African musicians like the jazz pianist Abdullah Ibraham,” said Raguso, who is also chair of the A.D. White Professors-at-Large program. “It was wonderful to speak about music with a world-famous musician, without feeling like it was an imposition.”

Raguso added that Hogwood’s work has left people “thinking harder” about the music of composers from the Baroque and Classical periods.

“He was an effective advocate of recording and performing classical music on period instruments through the Academy of Ancient Music,” Raguso said. “He left us thinking harder about how Handel’s or [Haydn’s] music might have sounded when it was first written and recorded, and why it sounds different today.”

Prof. Annette Richards, music  — who was also the primary host and organizer of Hogwood’s October 2013 visit — said in the release that he was an “inspiring and generous colleague” to many at Cornell.

“[Hogwood] also was an enthusiastic teacher and took great interest in young musicians and students,” she said.