Rolf Hind has worked closely with living composers across a broad range of styles: from John Adams and Tan Dun, to Ligeti and Lachenmann; Xenakis and Messiaen, to Simon Holt and Judith Weir.
Born in London and now living there after studies at the Royal College of Music and Los Angeles, his career has many facets. He appears regularly at new music festivals throughout Europe: in Brussels, Oslo, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Darmstadt, Vienna, Strasbourg and Paris. He is in demand as a soloist with all the major BBC orchestras and plays regularly with the London Sinfonietta. Further afield, he has made numerous appearances, including with the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Munich Radio Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, the South West German Radio Orchestra, the Stockholm Sinfonietta, Vienna Chamber Orchestra, and orchestras in Holland, Italy, Ireland, Norway, France, Portugal and the USA. As a performer he has had a number of concertos written for him, by Unsuk Chin (BBC National Orchestra of Wales) Poul Ruders (London Philharmonic Orchestra) Bent Sørensen (BBC Symphony Orchestra/Danish Radio) and Simon Holt (London Sinfonietta).
In his fifth appearance at the BBC Proms in 2002, he premiered a new concerto by David Sawer with the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Leonard Slatkin. Recently he has also performed concertos by Thomas Agerfeldt Olesen, Roger Smalley and Lou Harrison, and worked with high-calibre conductors including Vladimir Ashkenazy, Sir Simon Rattle, Leonard Slatkin, Andrew Davis, Markus Stenz, Oliver Knussen and Franz Welser-Möst. He has been chosen to give a recital as part of Southbank Centre’s Xenakis Weekend and was requested by Elliot Carter to play at the BBC Barbican Weekend with a programme of the composer’s choice. In 2010’s landmark performance of Lachenmann’s Ausklang at the Festival Hall with the London Sinfonietta, the composer asked specifically for Rolf to be the pianist.
Rolf played a leading role in the BBC’s Adams Festival at the Barbican in 2002, as soloist in Phrygian Gates and Grand Pianola Music conducted by the composer; the latter was reprised in 2003 at Alice Tully Hall, New York. As a result, John Adams asked him to play on his disc, Road Movies, released by Nonesuch. Rolf has also recorded for Factory Classics, Virgin, Teldec, Bridge, DaCapo and NMC records, including repertoire from Messiaen as well as works written especially for him. He also recorded the complete solo piano works of Peter Maxwell Davies for the composer’s own internet record label, MaxOpus.
Further afield, he has toured Korea, Taiwan and Cuba and made recital and concerto appearances at the Festivals of Perth (Australia) and Wellington (New Zealand). Rolf has also worked with some of the world’s greatest dancers and choreographers, including Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker at Rosas, Richard Alston and the London Contemporary Dance Theatre. In 2012 he worked with the leading Portuguese choreographer/director Rui Horta on Danza Preparata in which he plays the Sonatas and Interludes of John Cage in a “danced concert”.
In the last few years, he has developed a growing reputation as a composer. Keith Potter of The Independent called him “One of the rare examples of a performer who can make a successful career as a composer”. His piano pieces and a chamber work, The Horse Sacrifice, have been broadcast by the BBC. He wrote a score for Michael Frayn’s Copenhagen, broadcast on German radio, and was commissioned by the 2003 Huddersfield Festival for Das Unenthullte, as premiered with his regular duo partner, David Alberman. Recent commissions include Eye of Fire, which he played with The Duke Quartet, and Sunnata for five pianos and one honky-tonk, as well as a piano concerto, Maya-Sesha, for the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Maya Sesha, and a solo piano piece “a single hair, a jasmine petal, seven mattresses, a pea..” were both shortlisted for a British Composers Award.
In 2012, Maya-Sesha was played by the Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra under the baton of Sir James MacMillan, and Rolf’s largest orchestral score, The Tiniest House of Time, a concerto for accordion (James Crabb) will be premiered in the Barbican by the BBC Symphony Orchestra in November. Future plans include a work for two pianos and ensemble, and a music-theatre piece.
Rolf is a professor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, teaching piano and composition and coaching chamber music. He has also taught at the Royal Academy of Music and regularly gives masterclasses at Dartington Summer School and throughout Britain and Europe.
In recognition of his high standing within British music, Rolf was Artistic Director of the Society for the Promotion of New Music for two years. He planned a nationwide concert series for 2005-6 on their behalf; he was also for several years the Chairman of International Society for Contemporary Musicians (ISCM) Britain. He planned a large-scale day of music for multiple pianists at London’s Roundhouse, Many Hands, in 2010’s Reverb festival.
Read and hear more on Rolf Hind’s website.