Jan Hugo was born in South Africa and started his musical education at a young age in Pretoria. He made his debut at 12 years old with the orchestra playing Saint-Saëns’ 5th piano concerto on a tour of South Africa. Just 13 years old, Jan was invited by Francesco Cipolletta to continue his studies in Modena, Italy, where a few years later he completed his Bachelor of Music degree with honorary mention cum laude. Jan continued his studies at the prestigious Accademia Pianistica Internazionale “Incontri col Maestro” in Imola, Italy, where he received guidance from Franco Scala and Boris Petrushansky. He took part in many masterclasses with world-renowned teachers such as Michel Dalberto, Joaquin Soriano, Robert Levin, Vovka Ashkenazy, Graham Scott, Ronan O’Hora, Alan Fraser. Jan has been a top prize-winner in South Africa and Europe, including 1st prize at the UNISA National Piano competition in Pretoria, overall winner of the SAMRO Bursary Competition, 1st prize of the Royal Overseas League Piano Competition in London, 2nd prize at the Alkan-Zimmerman Competition in Athens.
In 2013 Jan left Italy and moved to Leipzig to study at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater “Mendelssohn Bartholdy” where he studied with Christian Pohl and completed his Master’s degree cum laude.
Jan has performed in major concert halls and festivals throughout Europe, including at the Liszt-en-Provence Festival in France, Queen Elizabeth Hall and St. Martin in the Fields (London), the TivoliVredenburg Hall (Utrecht, Netherlands), MITO festival (Milan and Turin), Sala Mozart (Bologna). He regularly performs on historical instruments, including at the 2018 Nuits d’Été festival in Verbania, Italy, where he performed on an Érard piano of 1838 and at the Chris Maene Piano Showroom in 2019, where he gave a recital on 6 historical pianos. He has taken part in masterclasses with acclaimed fortepianists Olga Paschenko and Edoardo Torbianelli. He is regularly invited to perform at all the major South African music societies and has performed as soloist with the Johannesburg Philharmonic, the KwaZulu Natal Philharmonic and Cape Town Philharmonic, under the baton of Daniel Boico, Sebastien Lang-Lessing, Bernhard Gueller, Arjan Tien, German Guttierez, Alexander Rahbari.
Jan is passionate about Liszt and the playing of his students and has received guidance from numerous Liszt specialists such as Leslie Howard, Bertrand Ott and Cyprien Katsaris.
He is a regular chamber music performer and art song accompanist. In 2019 he was vocal coach and pianist at Cape Town Opera.