Carleton University today conferred a Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, on pianist Angela Hewitt,in recognition of an outstanding contribution to music as a superb and inspiring performer, a brilliant interpreter of classical music and supporter of the arts.
“It is a great honour to be standing here today receiving this honorary degree from Carleton University,” said Hewitt. “I was often on this campus in my young years. I especially remember one of my first ever performances of Bach’s Goldberg Variations at a lunchtime concert in the music building almost, dare I say it, 40 years ago.
“It’s great when you know early on, even before you hit university, what your passion is. And then you can go all out to pursue it. And I mean, all out. Because passion and talent are nothing without hours of work and discipline behind them.”
Hewitt was honoured during Convocation for students in Carleton’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, some of the 3,359 undergraduates and 782 graduate students receiving their degrees over four days of ceremonies.
“Angela Hewitt is one of the foremost classical pianists of our time,” said James Wright, associate professor in Carleton’s School for Studies in Art and Culture. “For more than three decades, she has appeared regularly as a recitalist on the world’s great concert stages, and with major orchestras throughout Europe, the Americas, Australia and Asia.”
Born into a musical family, Hewitt began her piano studies at age three, performing in public at four and, a year later, winning her first scholarship. She then went on to learn with French pianist Jean-Paul Sévilla. In 1985, she won the Toronto International Bach Piano Competition.
She launched her own Trasimeno Music Festival in the heart of Umbria near Perugia in 2005. An annual event, it draws an international audience to the Castle of the Knights of Malta.
In 2012-‘13, Hewitt began a major project to perform Bach’s The Art of Fugue in two programs in major halls worldwide, based around concerts at the Royal Festival Hall in London as part of the International Piano Series. This follows on from the celebrated project Angela Hewitt’s Bach Book in 2010, where Ms. Hewitt gave world premieres of six newly-commissioned works by leading composers at Wigmore Hall.
Her work has been widely honoured. A Juno Award winner, she was named Artist of the Year at the 2006 Gramophone Awards. She was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2000 and was awarded an Officer of the British Empire in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2006.
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