Hugh McDowell

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Hugh McDowell
Birth name Hugh Alexander McDowell
Born (1953-07-31) 31 July 1953 (age 65)
Origin Hampstead, London, England
Genres Rock music
Progressive rock
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Cello, Keyboards
Labels Jet Records
Associated acts Wizzard
Electric Light Orchestra
Radio Stars
Cornelius Cardew Ensemble

Hugh Alexander McDowell (31 July 1953,[1] Hampstead, London) is an English cellist best known for his membership in Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) and related acts.


McDowell started playing the cello at the age of four and a half and by the age of 10 he won a scholarship to the Yehudi Menhuin School of Music. Only one year later he made his first professional appearance in Benjamin Britten's "Turn of the Screw," in which he sang. Later he attended Kingsway College of Further Education, the Royal College of Music and Guildhall School of Music. He played with the London Youth Symphony Orchestra, the London Schools Symphony Orchestra, National Youth Orchestra and London Youth Chamber Orchestra, until he was persuaded by Wilf Gibson to join The Electric Light Orchestra.

Electric Light Orchestra career

McDowell performed with the first live line-up of ELO in 1972 while only 19 years old, but left with founding member Roy Wood and horn player/keyboardist Bill Hunt to perform with the group Wizzard. During his time in Wizzard, he played both cello and Moog synthesizer, but returned to ELO in 1973 to replace Colin Walker. His return was partly motivated by a desire to play more cello and less keyboards as he had done with Wizzard.[2] McDowell remained with the group until Jeff Lynne removed the string players from the line-up. He appeared in promotional videos for the Discovery album despite not playing on the record.[3] In 1991 he performed with Electric Light Orchestra Part II.

Post-ELO life

In 1980 he played on the album Gift Wrapped by former ELO cellist Melvyn Gale, who had founded the group Wilson Gale & Co.. In the autumn of 1980, he began teaching part-time at the musical instrument technology department of a London higher educational college, the London College of Furniture, now part of the Guildhall University. He conducted a children's orchestra and other orchestras at several London schools.

For a short time, circa 1982, he was a member of Radio Stars and recorded the single, "My Mother Said" with the group.

He joined the 20th-century chamber groups George W. Welch, Harmonie Band and Quorum. In 1995 he joined the contemporary music group the Cornelius Cardew ensemble.

More recently he has worked on the 2004 Simon Apple album River to the Sea, on the 2005 Saint Etienne album Tales from Turnpike House, the 2005 Wetton Downes album Icon and appeared as a guest artist on the 2007 Port Mahadia album, Echoes in time. He also played cello on Asia's 2008 album Phoenix, on "An Extraordinary Life" and "I Will Remember You"

McDowell has also arranged and recorded for numerous pop, rock and jazz-fusion albums as well as collaborating in dance, film, and theatre projects.[4]

He is involved with computer programming and in 1992 published a music composition program called "Fractal Music Composer." He developed a suite of four programs: Mandelbrot Set Composer, Julia Set Composer, Mandelbrot Zoom and Play Midi.


  1. ^ Hugh McDowell at AllMusic. Retrieved 23 April 2012.
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
Retrieved from ""
This content was retrieved from Wikipedia :
This page is based on the copyrighted Wikipedia article "Hugh McDowell"; it is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA). You may redistribute it, verbatim or modified, providing that you comply with the terms of the CC-BY-SA