Professor Kenneth Hamilton

Professor Kenneth Hamilton

Described after a concerto performance with the St Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra as “an outstanding virtuoso- one of the finest players of his generation” (Moscow Kommersant), by the Singapore Straits Times as ‘a formidable virtuoso’; and by Tom Service in The Guardian as “pianist, author, lecturer and all-round virtuoso”, Scottish pianist Kenneth Hamilton performs worldwide as a recitalist, concerto soloist and broadcaster. He studied with Lawrence Glover and Ronald Stevenson in Scotland, and subsequently completed a doctorate on the music of Liszt at Balliol College, Oxford. Hamilton appears regularly on BBC Radio 3 as both pianist and presenter, and has undertaken numerous international broadcasts, including the television programme Mendelssohn in Scotland, broadcast in Europe and the US by Deutsche Welle, and performances of Chopin’s first piano concerto with the Istanbul Chamber Orchestra on Turkish Television. 

His recent recordings for the Prima Facie label: Kenneth Hamilton Plays Ronald Stevenson Volume 1, and Back to Bach: Tributes and Transcriptions by Liszt, Rachmaninov and Busoni have been welcomed with acclaim: “played with understanding and brilliance” (BBC Radio 3 Record Review); “an unmissable disk…fascinating music presented with power, passion and precision” (Fanfare); “precise control and brilliance” (The Guardian); “thrilling” (Gramophone); and “a gorgeous recording and excellent performance” (American Record Guide); “provides the ultimate in energetic impact, taut tempi and gripping creative command” (Klassik Heute). His next CD releases will be Preludes to Chopin later in 2018, and Volume 2 of his Stevenson series in early 2019. 

Kenneth Hamilton is Head of the School of Music at Cardiff University in Wales, UK, and is a well-known expert on historical piano performance, a topic on which he has published widely both in scholarly publications and for newspapers such as The New York Times. He is especially enthused by the fascinatingly varied performance styles of the pianistic “Golden Age” from Liszt to Busoni and Paderewski, which he considers not as models for exact imitation, but as fertile sources of inspiration for present-day playing. 

His last book, After the Golden Age: Romantic Pianism and Modern Performance (Oxford University Press) was a Daily Telegraph Book of the Year in the UK, a recipient of an ARSC award, and a CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title in the US. It has also been translated into several other languages—none of which, alas, he is able to read.

Head of School of Music,

Dean (International) for College of Arts,

Humanities and Social Sciences, Cardiff University