Hugh Mackay

ARTFORMS: Cello , Music



Hugh is a Scottish cellist whose specialisms include chamber music, orchestral playing and historically-informed performance. He received his formative training from Ruth Beauchamp at St. Mary’s Music School in Edinburgh, where he was also tutored by cellists William Conway and Philip Higham.

While a student at St Mary’s he received the school’s prestigious Lord Clyde Memorial Prize for Solo Performance and the school’s John Doig and Calvert String Prizes for Service. In March 2017, he was a finalist in the Edinburgh Competition Festival Association's Concerto Class and played Haydn's Cello Concerto in C with the Association's orchestra, conducted by David Watkin.

Since late 2018, Hugh has been performing extensively with duo partner, pianist Yayi Tian. As a duo, they have had coaching from such esteemed musicians as Hannah Roberts, Adrian Brendel, Colin Carr, Andrew West and Christopher Elton. They were also selected for a masterclass with cellist Alisa Weilerstein at the Royal Academy of Music, which was live-streamed online.

Following competitive auditions, Hugh was selected for The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment’s Experience Scheme, and in 2019 joined them in several concerts. He also enjoys a variety of freelance engagements, such as playing as an inaugural member of the London Contemporary Music Festival Orchestra on BBC Radio 3 in December 2018.

Hugh was co-principal cellist of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, working with conductors Nicholas Collon, John Wilson, Edward Gardner and Thomas Adès. Through the NYO he has played in every major concert hall in Britain, including the Royal Albert Hall at the BBC Proms. In 2017 he played at the Festival Berlioz in La Côte-Saint-André, France with the NYO, performing Stravinsky's 'The Rite of Spring' under the direction of Gerry Cornelius. He was also a member of the National Youth Orchestras of Scotland, notably joining them on their 2015 tour of China.

Gaining a place to study at the Royal Academy of Music, London, Hugh developed his skills in modern cello with Hannah Roberts and historical cello with Jonathan Manson. He has worked with conductors such as Trevor Pinnock and Ryan Wigglesworth as a member of the Symphony Orchestra and Baroque Orchestra.

How the Award Helped

Hugh's Award supported him in his studies at the Royal Academy of Music, London.

"The generous support of this organisation has provided much needed security while I pursue my studies"