Roger Woodward

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Roger Woodward AC OBE (born 20 December 1942) is an Australian classical concert pianist.

Roger Woodward performing at the Hunter Baillie Memorial Presbyterian Church, Annandale, Sydney


Woodward was born in 1942 in Chatswood, a suburb of Sydney, the youngest of four children to Gladys and Frank Woodward. He studied church music with Kenneth Long in Sydney, and, at the New South Wales State Conservatorium of Music, conducting with Sir Eugene Goossens, piano with Alexander Sverjensky and composition with Raymond Hanson. He won the piano section of the 1964 ABC Instrumental and Vocal Competition, beating David Helfgott in the final.[1]

In 1965 he continued his studies in Poland with Zbigniew Drzewiecki. He made his debut with the Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra and later with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London. He rose to international prominence in a series of collaborations with Olivier Messiaen, Pierre Boulez, Jean Barraqué, John Cage, Morton Feldman, Toru Takemitsu, Franco Donatoni, Luciano Berio, Leo Brouwer, Iannis Xenakis, Arvo Pärt, James Dillon and Karlheinz Stockhausen. Sviatoslav Richter invited him to appear at many European festivals; he has performed at over 100 festivals around the world, including nine appearances at the London Proms.

In late 1974/early 1975 Woodward rallied colleagues, within a 14-day period, to present a benefit concert at the Sydney Opera House for people made homeless by Cyclone Tracy in Darwin.

He became strongly associated with the Solidarność movement in Poland.

He was the Music Patron of the inaugural Sydney International Piano Competition in 1977, and a member of the jury for the 1981 competition.

In 1983 he performed the complete works of Frédéric Chopin for the Sydney Festival.

In 1990 he founded the Sydney Spring International Festival of New Music and Visual Arts. He artistically directed the festival, held annually for twelve years, involving many world premiere performances. ABC Classic FM Radio recorded and broadcast all concerts. A number of these were released as CD recordings by Etcetera, the Netherlands, winning international awards.

In 2002 he was appointed founding director of the School of Music and Dance at San Francisco State University (SFSU).[2] He is a Professor for Classical Piano at the SFSU's School of Music.[3]

In 2014, Woodward published his autobiography, Beyond Black and White: My Life in Music.[4]


Woodward's recording of J.S. Bach's The Well-Tempered Clavier was Editor's Choice for The Gramophone's February 2010 issue, with German and UK critics describing this recording release as "setting a new standard after Gould and Barenboim". He was awarded the prestigious Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik for his Celestial Harmonies recording of Bach C minor and E minor Partitas and is a recipient of the Goethe Prize and Diapasion d'or by the German and French critics for recordings of works dedicated to him by Morton Feldman. Current recordings for Celestial Harmonies of the Debussy Préludes and Shostakovich Preludes and Fugues were released to exceptionally high praise from critics worldwide (The Independent (UK).

Woodward has made close to 100 recordings and currently records for the American label, Celestial Harmonies ( where details of his latest CDs may be found and are listed below [1]. At the end of the entry for each CD are references to reviews.

As a chamber musician he worked with Ivry Gitlis, Philippe Hirschhorn, the Tokyo and Arditti String Quartets and is the frequent partner of the Alexander String Quartet in the U.S. Their recording of the Shostakovich Piano Quintet received high praise from European and American critics as did their recording for Celestial Harmonies of the Chopin F minor Concerto and the Beethoven C major Piano Quartet, WoO 36. At the invitation of Sviatoslav Richter, Woodward performed with the Arditti String Quartet at La Grange de Meslay, Tours, and he frequently performed at Le festival d'automne à Paris and BBC Promenade Concerts. His live recording of Xenakis's KEQROPS with Claudio Abbado for DGG, from the Wiener Konzerthaus, received very high praise.

Personal life[edit]

Woodward has three children, one of whom is adopted.

His daughter Asmira Woodward-Page (born 1973) is a notable concert violinist, whose mother was Prudence Page.

His son Ben, born in 1986, is his and Trish Ludgate's biological child.[1]

Honours and awards[edit]

Woodward has been awarded:

  • Award from the City of Darwin (1975)
  • Cz.K. (TiFC)(Warsaw) Fellow of the Chopin Institute (Warsaw) (1976)
  • Order of the British Empire, OBE (1980)
  • Citation City of London (for bravery and community work during 1981 Brixton riots) (1981)
  • Companion Order of Australia, AC (1992)[5]
  • Polish Order of Merit (Commander) OM (1993)
  • Australian National Living Treasure (National Trust) (1997)[6]
  • Centenary (of Federation) Medal, Australia (2003)
  • Chevalier de l'ordre des Arts et des Lettres (French Government) (2004)
  • Order of Solidarność (Polish Government) (2008)
  • Gloria Artis Gold Medal for Merit to Culture[7]

Academic (earned)

  • Doctor of Music, University of Sydney (1999)

Academic (honorary)

  • Doctor of Creative Arts, Wollongong University (1992)
  • Doctor of Music, University of Sydney (1998)
  • Doctor of Letters, University of New England (1998)
  • Doctor of Laws, University of Alberta, Canada (1998)

Early academic achievements

  • Associate Diploma of Music (1960) A.Mus.A.
  • Licentiate Diploma of Music, Australia (1961)
  • Specialist Teacher's Certificate (1963)
  • Graduate Sydney Teachers' College, University of Sydney
  • Diplomas of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music: Performers DSCM (1963, awarded 1981); Teachers DSCM (1963, awarded 1981)
  • Staz.Ch.Nat.Ak.Mus (Warsaw) Chopin National Academy of Music (1965–76)

Critiques and testimonials[8]

  • Roger Woodward par Jean Barraqué: Une belle histoire, en somme. Car cela en est toujours une pour un compositeur…...
  • par Iannis Xenakis: Mi homme, mi dragon….. (letter from Iannis Xenakis to Roger Woodward on preparation of Keqrops)
  • Pianist Possessed – by Wilfred Mellers, New Statesman London 1971
  • Sviatoslav Richter reflections: La soiree americaine me sera aussi l'occasion d'entendre enfin en concert le pianiste Roger Woodward, que je ne connais que par les disques…..
  • Feldman on Woodward ....
  • Les Carnets de Roger Woodward…...

Woodward also became:

  • Founder and Artistic Director Joie et Lumière Chateau de Bagnols, Burgundy (1997–2002);
  • Founder and Artistic Director Kőtschack-Maunthen Musiktag, Austria (1993–97);
  • Founder and Artistic Director Alpha Centauri Ensemble (1989–93);
  • Founder and Patron United Music Teachers' Association NSW (1975–present);
  • Founder and Artistic Director of Music Rostrum Australia (1975/6);
  • Co-Founder and Artistic Director London Music Digest (Roundhouse, London, 1971–88);
  • Patron 2MBS-FM, 4MBS-FM Australia.

Woodward has had many music compositions dedicated to him, including the following world premiere performances:

  • Alison Bauld: Concert (Liverpool);
  • Anne Boyd: As it Leaves the Bell (Sydney 1973; Angklung (Edinburgh Festival 1974); Meditations on a Chinese Character (Sydney Spring Festival 1996; Last Songs of the Kamikaze (Sydney Spring Festival 1997); Dreams for the Earth (Sydney Spring Festival 1998; Book of the Bells III (Sydney Spring Festival 1998); Piano Concerto (2004)
  • Nigel Butterley: Piano Concerto (incomplete)
  • John Cage: HPSCD (Round House, London)
  • Barry Conyngham: Snowflake (London 1974); Southern Cross (Melbourne 1982); Double Concerto (Sydney 1982)
  • James Dillon: The Book of Elements Vol I (Sydney 1997); Piano Concerto (2004)
  • Franco Donatoni: Sincronie I (Huddersfield 1992; Sincronie II (Lisbon 1994)
  • Ross Edwards: Monos II (orchestral version) (QEH London 1971); Piano Concerto (unperformed)
  • Morton Feldman: Piano (Frankfurt 1977): Piano and Orchestra (Metz 1975); Triadic Memories (ICA, London, 1981)
  • Rolf Gehlhaar: Strangeness, Charm and Colour (52nd ISCM Athens 1978); Diagonal Flying (Sydney Spring Festival 1995); Piano Piece (1996 completed, awaiting premiere)
  • Peter Michael Hamel: Of the Sound of Life (2009 Gasteig, Munich, Germany)
  • Askell Masson: Piano Concerto (Reykjavik 1991);
  • Richard Meale: Coruscations (Queen Elizabeth Hall, London 1971);
  • Luis de Pablo: Eros (Lisbon 1994)
  • Horatiu Radulescu: Third Piano Sonata
  • Bernard Rands: Mesalliance (Round House, London 1972, Boulez/BBCSO)
  • Peter Sculthorpe: Landscape (London 1969);
  • Larry Sitsky: lst Piano Concerto (Sydney Spring Festival 1994); 2nd Piano Concerto;
  • Alessandro Solbiati: By My Window (Lisbon 1994)
  • Karlheinz Stockhausen: Interval (RFH London 1973)
  • Toru Takemitsu: For Away (Edinburgh Festival 1972; Corona with Crossing (London Version 1972; Piano piece (left in sketch form – incomplete)
  • Felix Werder: 3rd Sonata (Sydney 1969); Piano Trio (for Vienna Trio 1970)
  • Roger Woodward: Improvisation 1–3 (Sydney); Improvisation 4–5 (Warsaw); Improvisaton 6–7 (London); Improvisation 8 (Los Angeles); Improvisation 9 (Tokyo); Sound by Sound (Paris 1989); Five Songs in Memoriam Toru Takemitsu for unaccompanied cello (1996);
  • Iannis Xenakis: Mists (Edinburgh 1980); Paille in the Wind (La Scala Milano 1992); Keqrops (New York 1986).


ABC Classics[edit]

  • Werder: 3rd Sonata (1969, format: LP;
  • Meale: Coruscations live from Sydney Opera House (1973, format: LP;
  • Concert for Darwin: live at the Sydney Opera House (1970, Format: LP
    item number: SMX44977-44980, Contents: Chopin Polonaise, Op. 44, No. 5 in F-sharp minor;
  • Takemitsu Piano Works: (1991) format:CD Item number: ABC446 739-2
    contents:Rain Tree Sketch, Les Yeux Clos, For Away, Litany, Piano Distance, Uninterrupted Rests, Corona, Crossing (live from Sydney Spring 1990);
  • Roger Woodward Plays Prokofiev: (1991) Format: CD, item number: ABC426 806-2
    contents: Sarcasms op.17, Prelude op.12 No.7, Suggestion Diabolique op.4 No.4, Visions Fugitives op.22, Four Etudes op.2, Visions Fugitives op.22, Children's Suite op.65, Pensees op.62, Visions Fugitives op.22, Nocturne op.43 bis No.2, Gavotta op.32 No.3, Paysage op.59 No.2, March from L'amour des trois oranges op.33a
  • Skryabin: late piano works (1991–92) Format: CD, item number: ABC446 741-2
    contents: 2 Danses op.73, 5 Preludes op.74, Vers la flamme op.72, Sonata No.10 op.70, 2 Poemes op.71, 2 Poemes op.69, 2 Preludes op.67, 2 Poemes op.63, Poeme-nocturne op.61, Sonata No.6 op.62 and 3 Etudes op.65;
  • Skryabin : Piano Concerto Works for Solo Piano (1999), format: CD(2CDs, item number: ABC465 671-2
    contents: 3 Pieces op.2, 2 Nocturnes op.5, 5 Preludes op.16, Piano Concerto in F-sharp minor op.20, 2 Poemes op.32, Waltz in A-flat major op.38, 8 Etudes op.42, 3 Morceaux op.52, 2 Pieces op.57, Feuillet d'Album op.58, 2 Pieces op.59, 2 Danses op.73, Vers la flamme op.72, Sonata No.10 op.70, 2 Poemes op.71, 2 Poemes op.69, 2 Preludes op.67, 2 Poemes op.63, Poeme-nocturne op.61, Sonata No.6 op.62 and 3 Etudes op.65;
  • Images of Debussy: (1997) format: CD, item number: ABC446 740-2
    contents: L'Isle Joyeuse, Estampes, D'un cahier d'esquisses, Images I, Hommage a Haydn, Images II, La plus que lente, Page d'album and Children's Corner;
  • Debussy : (1995) format: CD, item number: ABC454 512-2
    contents: Suite Bergamasque, Etudes Book I, Images (oubliees) and Etudes Book II
  • Debussy Piano Works: (2002 re-release)format: CD(2CDs, item number: ABC472 170-2
    contents: L'Isle Joyeuse, Estampes, D'un cahier d'esquisses, Images I, Hommage a Haydn, Images II, La plus que lente, Page d'album, Children's Corner, Suite Bergamasque, Etudes Book I, Images (oubliees) and Etudes Book II;
  • Ann Boyd: (1997) Meditations on a Chinese Character format: CD. item number: ABC462 007-2
    contents: Angklung
  • Sitsky : (1999) Piano Concerto – The Twenty-Two Paths of the Tarot (1999. format: CD, item number: ABC456 688-2
    contents: Concert for Piano and Orchestra(1991, revised 1994) The Twenty-Two Paths of the Tarot;


  • Little Masterpieces : (1996)
  • Moving Pictures: (1995) solo piano music from the movies
  • Lullaby: (1997)
  • Cinema Paradiso: (1996)
  • Cinema: (1998) Classics from the Silver Screen
  • Roger Woodward Plays Chopin: (1998) live performance Sydney Opera House 1997
  • The Essential Album: (1998)
  • Rondo Alla Turca


  • Clair de Lune: (1989)

Celestial Harmonies[9][edit]

  • Roger Woodward in Concert, recorded live at the Sendesaal, Bremen, Germany
  • Jean Barraqué: Sonate pour Piano (Recorded 1972 in London)
  • Music of the Russian Avant-Garde 1905–1926
  • Sergei Prokofiev: Works for Piano 1908–1938
  • Dmitri Shostakovich: 24 Preludes and Fugues Op.87 (1975, the first complete recording in the West; re-released September 2010 on CD by Celestial Harmonies) [2]
  • Peter Michael Hamel: Vom Klang des Lebens / Of the sound of life
  • Hans Otte: Stundenbuch / Book of Hours
  • Fryderyk Chopin: The Complete Nocturnes (2 CD)
  • Fryderyk Chopin: Piano Concerto № 2 in F minor, op. 21 / Ludwig van Beethoven : Piano Quartet № 3 C MAJOR WoO 36 – Roger Woodward, piano / Alexander String Quartet
  • Claude Debussy : Préludes, Books 1 & 2
  • Johann Sebastian Bach: Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue BWV 903, Partita № 2 BWV 826, Partita № 6 BWV 830 [3]
  • Johann Sebastian Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier, Books I & II BWV 846–893 (5 CDs & 2 pocket scores, complete edition)
  • Hamel/Hiller/Otte Edition of Contemporary German Piano Music (4-CD boxed set including pocket scores) – Roger Woodward, piano; Silke Avenhaus, piano
  • Fryderyk Chopin – The Complete Nocturnes

Col Legno[edit]

  • 20 Ans de musique contemporaine a Metz: format: CD(5CDs, item number: AU31 8 30CD
    contents: Feldman Piano Concerto (live with Hans Zender and Saarbruken Rundfunksorchester)
  • Feldman Orchestral Works and Chamber Music: item number: WWE 1CD 20506(re-release as AU31 8 30CD)
    contents: Feldman Piano Concerto (live with Hans Zender and Saarbruken Rundfunksorchester)


  • Takemitsu Piano Works: 1974) format: LP, item number: HEAD4
    contents: Corona (London version), For Away, Piano Distance, Uninterrupted Rests

Deutsche Grammophon[edit]

  • Wien Modern III : (1995) format: CD, item number: 447 115-2
    contents: Xenakis Keqrops (Wien Modern with Claudio Abbado recorded live at Wiener Konzerthaus 1995)

Deutsche Grammophon Australia[edit]

  • The Colour of Australian Classics, Format: CD(2CDS), item number: 441 969-2
    contents: Xenakis Keqrops (Wien Modern with Claudio Abbado recorded live at Wiener Konzerthaus 1995)


  • Chopin Piano Works:(1970)
  • Rachmaninov Preludes: (1970)
  • Skryabin Prokofiev Shostakovich: (1970)
  • Roger Woodward Plays Chopin: (1972)
  • Australian Contemporary Music: (1970)
  • The London Music Digest from the Round House : (1972)
  • Conyngham: (1982)


  • Xenakis (1998) (re-release 1999) (Roger Woodward conducting Alpha Centauri Ensemble live from Sydney Opera House
  • Takemitsu Piano Works (1990) (live from Sydney Spring 1990);
  • Feldman: (1990) (with Ralph Lane)
  • Gehlhaar Diagonal Flying:(1990–91) with Rolf Gehlhaar, recorded live at Sydney Spring International Festival of New Music
  • Skryabin Late Piano Works (1991)

Foghorn Classics[edit]

  • fragments, vol.1: 2005 : Shostakovich String Quartets; Shostakovich Piano Quintet in G Minor, Op. 57, 3-CD set, total playing time 74:58; 74:01; 73:42; Producer and Engineer Judith Sherman, recorded at the American Academy of Arts & Letters, 2005


  • Solo: (1988), favourites by Bach/Beethoven /Chopin/Grieg /Liszt /Mozart /Tchaikovsky /etc, format: CD and LP item number: unknown(CD), JB260(LP);
  • Music of the Night: (1990, popular themes from films and musicals, format: CD and LP item number: unknown(CD), JB425(LP);

London (Japan)[edit]

  • Takemitsu Piano Works: format: CD, item number: POCL-2347(Re-release CD: POCL-3998 and UCCD-3131)
    contents: Corona (London version), For Away, Piano Distance, Uninterrupted Rests;

Polskie Nagrania[edit]

  • Serocki: (1976),Fantasmagoria(One of the series of the LP 20th International Festival of Contemporary Music Warsaw Autumn, format: LP, item number: SX1444. contents: Serocki Fantasmagoria (1976)


  • Beethoven Sonatas: (1973)
  • Beethoven Sonatas: (1976)
  • Australian Contemporary Music: (1974)
  • Shostakovich Preludes & Fugues: (1976)
  • Beethoven/Liszt Eroica Symphony
  • Hoddinot 3rd Concerto: (1976)
  • Brahms 1st Piano Concerto (with Kurt Masur & Philharmonia Orchestra) (1976)
  • Shostakovich Piano Trio and Piano Quintet: (1978) (with Edinburgh String Quartet)

Sipario Dischi[edit]

  • Nuove Sincronie 92 : format: CD, item number: sin1012, contents: Donatoni Sincronie (with J. Scalfi(vc))


  • Barraque Sonate : (re-release) (1978, format: LP, item number: UNS263, contents: Sonate(Barraque)


  • Rustle of Spring : (1992)
  • The Music of Frédéric Chopin : (1992)(re-released 1997)
  • Over the Hills and Far Away: (1994)
  • My Favourite Classics: (1995)

Kurtur (VTR)[edit]

  • The Tchaikovsky 150th Anniversary Concert From China, (with Tan Lihua and Symphony Orchestra of the Central Philharmonic, Beijing)


External links[edit]