Angela Hewitt is a highly esteemed pianist, particularly noted as a Bach performer, but accomplished in an exceptionally large repertory that embraces all eras of keyboard music. The daughter of an organist, Hewitt began to study piano at age three, making a public debut at the age of four, winning a scholarship at six, and eventually adding studies in ballet, singing, violin, and recorder.
She entered the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto in 1964, and gave her first recital there at the age of nine. In 1973, she entered the University of Ottawa, where she studied with Jean-Paul Sevilla, a French pianist. She graduated from the University with a bachelor of music degree at the age of 18.
Hewitt slowly gained recognition in Canada and the United States, winning some noteworthy competitions, including the International Bach Competitions of Washington and Leipzig, the Schumann Competition in Zwickau, the Casadesus Competition in Cleveland, and the Dino Ciani Competition on the stage of the La Scala opera house in Milan.
Her breakthrough came with a victory at the unique International Bach Piano Competition, held in honor of the late Glenn Gould in Toronto, May 1985. This led to a Deutsche Grammophon recording of Bach solo keyboard music that won critical acclaim and established her as one of the great Bach interpreters.
Hewitt has appeared in the world's major recital venues, including Alice Tully Hall in New York, Wigmore Hall in London, the Ravinia Festival in Chicago, Salle Gaveau in Paris, Tokyo's Bunka Kaikan, Roy Thompson Hall in Toronto, and the Sydney Opera House. She has appeared on the concert platform with every major Canadian orchestra, all of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's orchestra, the Japan Philharmonic, the San Francisco, Minnesota, Baltimore, Oregon, and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestras in the United States, and in London with the Philharmonia, the Royal Philharmonic, the BBC Philharmonic, and the City of London Sinfonia.
Hewitt's vast repertory includes music from Bach to Messiaen. She has done two complete recital cycles of the piano music of Maurice Ravel, and has devoted entire single-composer recital programs to Roussel, Brahms, Fauré, Chopin, Robert Schumann, Beethoven, and Brahms.
She is an avid chamber music performer, and often performs with leading singers and instrumentalists in North America and Europe. Her residence in England has not ended her close connection to Canada, and late in the 1990s she founded an organization called Piano Six, devoted to bring major Canadian piano artists to the far-flung rural communities of the vast country. (Their motto is "Keep live music alive.")
Hewitt frequently records, and since 1994 has been involved in a project with Britain's Hyperion Records label to record all the major clavier music of Johann Sebastian Bach on piano. Three of that series have been named "Editor's Choice" CDs in Gramophone Magazine, and her account of the Well-Tempered Clavier (Book One) was on two different London Sunday Times critics' Top Ten lists for 1998 and also won Canada's Juno Award. She has also released Granados' Spanish Dances on the CBC Records label and an all-Messiaen release on Hyperion.
Angela Hewitt received an honorary doctorate from the University of Ottawa in 1995 and in 1997 was given the Key to the City of Ottawa.