Hugh MacPherson Wolff is an American conductor who was born
in France while his father was serving in the U.S. Foreign Service,
Wolff spent his primary-school years in London. He received his higher education at Harvard and at Peabody Conservatory. Between Harvard and Peabody, he spent a year in Paris where he studied composition with Olivier Messiaen and conducting with Charles Bruck. At Peabody, he studied piano with Leon Fleisher. Wolff began his career in 1979 as assistant conductor to Mstislav Rostropovich at the National Symphony Orchestra, in Washington, D.C., where he worked until 1995. In June 1985, he was the first winner of the Seaver/National Endowment for the Arts Conductors Award. He was music director of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic from 1981 to 1986. Wolff then served as music director of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra from 1986 to 1993. From 1988 to1992, Wolff was Principal Conductor of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and then served as its Music Director from 1992 to 2000. He was Principal Conductor of the Grant Park Music Festival from 1994 to1997. In Europe, Wolff was Chief Conductor of the Frankfurt Radio Symphony
Orchestra (which changed its name to the hr Symphony Orchestra in 2005) from 1997 to 2006. In February 2016, the National Orchestra of Belgium named Wolff its next music director, effective with the 2017-2018 season.