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Hugh Mackay - Cello


Hugh Mackay (b. 2000) is a Scottish cellist whose musical life comprises many different areas of performance including chamber music, orchestral playing, and historically informed performance. He has played in leadings festivals including The BBC Proms, Enescu Festival (Bucharest) and Festival Berlioz (France), and venues such as the Royal Albert Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, and The Palace of Versailles.

Hugh received his formative education at St. Mary’s Music School (Edinburgh) and since 2017 has been studying with Hannah Roberts and Jonathan Manson at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he holds the Yadegar-Hall Award and is in his fourth year of his undergraduate studies.

Since 2021 Hugh has been the first British cellist to hold a scholarship from the Mozart Gesellschaft Dortmund, and through their support will make his concerto debut with the Bremer Philharmoniker in the Dortmund Konzerthaus in October 2021, performing Schumann’s Cello Concerto.

An avid chamber musician, Hugh has performed chamber works at Kinnordy Chamber Music Festival, Petworth Festival, Brighton Early Music Festival, Hatfield Festival and Virtuoso & Belcanto Festival (Lucca). Hugh is the 1st Prizewinner of the 2020 May Mukle Cello Sonata Prize (Royal Academy of Music) alongside duo partner, Junyan Chen, and 1st Prizewinner of the 2019 Isaacs Pirani Piano Trio Competition (RAM) alongside colleagues Manuel De Almeida-Ferrer and Wouter Valvekens. As cellist of the Clova Quartet, Hugh will participate in the 2021 Trondheim Chamber Music Festival Competition.

In 2019, Hugh was part of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment’s Experience Scheme, working with the orchestra throughout 2019 including concerts at the Enescu Festival in Bucharest. He has worked with many leading conductors such as Trevor Pinnock, Thomas Adès, Edward Gardner, John Wilson, Masaako Suzuki, Nicholas Collon, and Ryan Wigglesworth.

Hugh was the co-principal cellist of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, exposing him to the leading British venues as well as recording works by Strauss and Holst for Chandos Records. In 2017 he played at the Festival Berlioz in La Côte-Saint-André, France with the NYO, playing Stravinsky’s ‘The Rite of Spring’ under the direction of Gerry Cornelius.

Hugh is generously supported by a Dewar Arts Award since 2018 and is also supported by the Cross Trust, Waddell Trust and Talent Unlimited. He plays on a fine Italian cello by G. Celoniatus c. 1720, generously on loan from the Royal Academy of Music.


To read the interview:

submission March 2021