Hugh Ottaway

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Hugh Ottaway (1925 – 6 November 1979) was a prominent British writer on concert music.

Ottaway studied history at Exeter University. His most significant contributions to music criticism were as a commentator on that portion of twentieth-century music which retained an allegiance to tonality; thus Nielsen, Shostakovich and Sibelius featured largely in his output. He was especially associated with British tonal composers such as Edmund Rubbra and Robert Simpson. He died in Malvern, aged 54.


  • Mozart
  • Sibelius (Novello Short Biographies; 1968)
  • Vaughan Williams Symphonies (BBC Music Guides series; 1972 [reprinted 1977, 1980 and 1987])

ISBN 0-563-12242-0.

  • Shostakovich Symphonies (BBC Music Guides, No 39; 1978)
  • Edmund Rubbra, an appreciation: Together with a complete catalogue of compositions to May 1981 (Lengnick; 1981)


  • 'Nielsen's Sixth Symphony'; 'The Musical Times', Vol. 95, No. 1337, Summer Book Number (Jul., 1954), pp. 362–363
  • 'Clues and Keys' - Hugh Ottaway on the music of Robert Simpson'; 'The Listener', 21 May 1970
  • Review: 'Simpson's New Symphonies'; Tempo (New Ser.), No. 105 (Jun., 1973), pp. 53–54


  • 'Hugh Ottaway', The Musical Times, Vol. 121, No. 1643 (Jan., 1980), p. 48