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  • Born

    20 December 1942 (age 74)

  • Born In

    Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Born: December 20, 1942 - Sydney, Australia

The Australian pianist, conductor and composer, Roger Robert Woodward, studied piano at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, University of Sydney, with Professor Alexander Sverjensky (a pupil of Sergei Rachmaninov) and in the class of Professor Zbigniew Drzewiecki (a pupil of Ignazy Paderewski and lifelong friend of Szymanowski and Artur Rubinstein) at the National Chopin Academy for Music in Warsaw.

Roger Woodward made his debut at the Royal Festival Hall in London in 1970. Since then he has performed throughout Europe, the USA and Australia. He has appeared with the major orchestras throughout the world and with the world's most distinguished conductors, including the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, the Cleveland Orchestra, London Orchestras and EEC Mahlerjugendorchester directed by Claudio Abbado, Pierre Boulez, Charles Dutoit, Eliahu Inbal, James Judd, Eric Leinsdorf, Lorin Maazel, Sir Charles Mackerras, Kurt Masur, Zubin Mehta, Sir Roger Norrington, and Edo de Waart. He also worked with Paavo Berglund, Witold Rowicki, Georges Tzipine, Georg Tintner and Walter Susskind.

Roger Woodward's career has been closely associated with world premieres of works by the most famous composers of our time: Gilbert Amy, Jean Barraqué, Berio, Pierre Boulez, Anne Boyd, Bussotti, John Cage, James Dillon, Franco Donatoni, Morton Feldman, Rolf Gehlhaar, Peter Michael Hamel, Askell Masson, Richard Meale, Olivier Messiaen, Hans Otte, Arvo Pärt, Horatiu Radulescu, Larry Sitsky, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Toru Takemitsu, Xu Xiao-song and Yannis Xenakis amongst others. Many of their works have been written specifically for him. In 1986 he gave world premiere of Xenakis' Keqrops, conceived for Woodward with New York Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Mehta, and in November 1988 he performed as Music Director, Xenakis ballet Kraanerg mounted by Sydney Dance Company.

As a composer, Roger Woodward was commissioned by the Festival d'Automne Paris for the bicentennial celebrations of the French Revolution with his works performed in the UK, Poland, France, Spain and at the Sydney Spring International Festival of New Music. His passion for chamber music involved him in performances with a wide range of artists including the Vienna Trio, Alexander, Arditti, Edinburgh and Tokyo String Quartets, Frank Zappa, Ivry Gitlis, Synergy Percussion (Sydney) and with the Sydney Dance Company in a production of Xenakis’s Kraanerg recorded by Etcetera Records BV (Amsterdam).

Roger Woodward is founder member of contemporary music series in London in 1972 and in Australia in 1975. He performed historic series of 16 concerts presenting the complete works of Chopin in 1985. He founded and directed the London Music Digest, Kötschach-Mauthner Musiktage, Sydney Spring International Festival of New Music and ’Joie et Lumiére series, Bourgogne. Woodward has performed at international festivals on five continents, including Sviatoslav Richter's Festival at Grange de Meslay, Tours, on several occasions. He has made television and video documentaries for the BBC with Xenakis and Boulez and further documentaries with Stockhausen, Cage and Arvo Pärt. The Guardian described him as a “pianistic genius”; Le Monde de la Musique, Paris, for his Debussy performances, as “magnificent”; in Edinburgh, he was described as a “musician’s musician” and at the Toulouse Festival, the French Press wrote: “Roger Woodward compte parmi les musiciens internationaux de premier plan notre epoque”.

In January 2007, Roger Woodward appears for RadioBremenklavierfest after which he records the Debussy Préludes and several volumes of early-20th-century Russian/Ukrainian music in Munich for Celestial Harmonies, with Ulrich Kraus. In Summer 2007, he records the Schumann C major Phantasie and J.S.Bach’s Das Wohltemperierte Clavier before performing in Gdansk, Poland, where the Order of Solidarity is to be conferred on him. In September 2007, he performs Chopin with James Judd in Adelaide, Australia, and both books of the Bach Preludes and Fugues in Sydney. Also in 2007 a recording of live Xenakis performances from Vienna, London, Frankfurt and Sydney will be released by Celestial Harmonies.

Roger Woodward works with young artists in many countries and participates on the Juries of international competitions. Together with the musicians of the Alexander String Quartet he is Professor at the San Francisco State University and author of publications covering a wide field.

Source: International Who's Who in Music & International Directory (13th Edition, 1992/93); Roger Woodward Website; The Artist (February 2008)
Contributed by Aryeh Oron (September 2007); Angela Boyd (February 2008)

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