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 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 City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (including one with Sir Simon Rattle), multiple concerts with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and a UK tour with the Russian State Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as concerts in South America, Germany, China, Russia and the USA. 2014 also sees Donohoe complete his current concert series of Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas from No. 1 to No. 32.

As well as performing, Donohoe has an impressive catalogue of recordings.  Most recently he has recorded a complete set of the Prokofiev piano sonatas for SOMM records, the first of which was released in May 2013.  Gramophone describes the first disc as ‘devastatingly effective’, declaring Donohoe to be ‘in his element’ and a review in Classical Notes identifies Donohoe’s ‘remarkably sensitive approach to even the most virtuosic of repertoire’.  In August 2013 he recorded Alan Bush’s Africa for piano and orchestra with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra conducted by Martin Yates and in April 2013 he recorded the world premiere of Cyril Scott’s Concerto in D for piano and orchestra Op. 10 on the Dutton label again with Martin Yates and the BBC Concert Orchestra.

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 Years Honours List.

News —

Peter Donohoe UK Tour

Peter Donohoe embarks on a UK Tour with the Russian State Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Valery Polyansky Read more

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Photos —

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

Reviews —

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

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  • Nicola Semple