Peter Donohoe


At a glance

Peter Donohoe


Peter Donohoe played as if visited by the spirit of Rachmaninov
Rian Evans, The Guardian

Since his success as joint winner of the 1982 International Tchaikovsky Competition, Peter has gained international renown as one of the foremost pianists of our time, for his musicianship, stylistic versatility and commanding technique.

Biography —

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. Since his unprecedented success as joint winner of the 1982 International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, he has developed a distinguished career in Europe, the USA, the Far East, New Zealand and Australia. 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, 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 has worked with many of the worlds’ greatest conductors including Christoph Eschenbach, Neeme Jarvi, Lorin Maazel, Kurt Masur, Andrew Davis and Yevgeny Svetlanov. More recently he has appeared as soloist with the next generation of excellent conductors such as Gustavo Dudamel, Robin Ticciati and Daniel Harding.

Recent and forthcoming engagements include appearances with the Berlin Konzerthaus Orchestra, the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and CBSO (under Sir Simon Rattle), the BBC Concert Orchestra, and a UK tour with the Russian State Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as concerts in South America, Europe, Hong Kong, South Korea, Russia, and the USA. Other engagements include performances of all three MacMillian piano concertos with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, a series of concerts for the Ravel and Rachmaninov Festival at Bridgewater Hall alongside Noriko Ogawa, and performances with The Orchestra of the Swan (with whom he is an Associate Artist). Donohoe is also in high demand as an adjudicator at piano competitions around the world, with upcoming engagements including the International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition, Moscow, The George Enescu Piano Competition, Romania, and the Hong Kong International Piano Competition.

As well as performing, Donohoe has an impressive catalogue of recordings. Most recently he has recorded a second disc of Prokofiev piano sonatas for SOMM Records, the first of which was released in May 2013. Gramophone described the first disc as ‘devastatingly effective’, declaring Donohoe to be ‘in his element’ and a review in Classical Notes identified Donohoe’s ‘remarkably sensitive approach to even the most virtuosic of repertoire’. In 2015 he will release two discs; one of Shostakovich’s Preludes and Fugues for Signum Records, and a disc of solo piano works by Scriabin.

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.

News —

More news

Photos —

Credit Sussie AhlburgDownload - 516.1 KB
Credit Sussie AhlburgDownload - 603.2 KB
Credit Sussie AhlburgDownload - 1.3 MB

Reviews —

...jaw droppingly virtuosi stuff - the sheer finger-memory involved is awesome... Donohoe was self-effacingly magisterial in this marathon.

Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post

Donohoe’s performance was monumental, rhythmically charged, beautifully nuanced and utterly compelling

Ken Walton, The Scotsman

One of our greatest home grown performers

Petroc Trelawny, BBC Radio 3

Peter Donohoe played as if visited by the spirit of Rachmaninov…The fire and passion of the closing part of the last movement brought the performance to a magnificent climax. Not surprisingly, the audience erupted

Rian Evans, The Guardian

Donohoe is a pianist in a class of his own…. A ‘sculptor’ of the piano

Detlef Brandenburg

Donohoe’s delivery of the solo part was formidable, crisply articulated, dynamics beautifully judged

Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post

Donohoe is very special. He's a lion of the keyboard, but he's also a poet. From Donohoe you will experience thunder and steel; but you will also experience exquisite lyricism and sensitivity. There's something about his playing that suggests him as the man for this mission…Expect insights galore

Michael Tumelty, The Herald, Scotland

Selected Discography —

Franz Liszt: SONATA IN B MINOR; Frédéric Chopin: SONATA NO. 3 IN B MINOR

See full discography

Related Media —

Downloads —

Download all

Contact —


  • Nicola Semple