Born in Dublin in 1958, Hugh Tinney first came to international recognition by winning first prize at both the 1983 Pozzoli and 1984 Paloma O’Shea piano competitions in Italy and Spain, and since then he has performed in more than thirty-five countries throughout Europe, the United States, Latin America and the Far East. A prize in the 1987 Leeds Piano Competition earned him a busy career in Great Britain, performing with many major orchestras including the London Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic, Philharmonia, City of Birmingham, Royal Liverpool, Royal Scottish and BBC National of Wales. He has performed more than sixty different concertos.
Hugh has made a major contribution to Irish concert life for over thirty years, including multiple solo recital series, chamber music series, and frequent concerto appearances with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, RTÉ Concert Orchestra, Irish Chamber Orchestra and Ulster Orchestra. Conductors he has worked with in Ireland include Colman Pearce, Bryden Thomson, Proinnsías O'Duinn, Alexander Anissimov, Gerhard Markson, David Brophy, Gavin Maloney and Kenneth Montgomery.
Since the mid-1990s, he has played chamber music with many distinguished individuals and groups; he and violinist Catherine Leonard have collaborated as a duo for many years. Chamber music partners have included the Borodin, Tokyo, Vanbrugh, ConTempo and Vogler Quartets, Steven Isserlis, Julian Rachlin, Jörg Widmann, Alban Gerhardt, Guy Johnston, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Bernadette Greevy, John Finucane, Carol McGonnell, Finghin Collins and John O'Conor. From 2012 to 2014, he toured China several times with the Academy Chamber Ensemble. He is a frequent performer at chamber music festivals, including Bantry, Killaloe, Sligo and Great Music in Irish Houses.
A recipient of a bursary from the Arts Council of Ireland in 2006 to work on contemporary music, he performs music by many Irish and international contemporary composers. He has recorded solo, chamber and concerto repertoire for Decca, Naxos, RTÉ lyric fm and several other CD labels.
From 2000 to 2006 Hugh Tinney was Artistic Director of the Music in Great Irish Houses festival. He is currently joint Artistic Director of the Westport Festival of Chamber Music. He teaches at the Royal Irish Academy of Music and has been a jury member at several international piano competitions, including Santander and Dublin. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Music by the National University of Ireland in 2007.
In 2018, in recognition of his 60th Birthday on 28th November, Hugh fulfilled some key celebratory engagements - a solo recital in June for Great Music in Irish Houses in Dublin; a 12-stop recital tour of Ireland & Northern Ireland in November, jointly funded by the Arts Council of Ireland and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland; and a performance of Beethoven's Emperor Concerto with the RTÉ NSO under Jonas Alber to a sold-out National Concert Hall in Dublin.