THE HUGH McDOWELL HISTORY:
Born Jul. 31, 1953, Hampstedt, London, England.
He was The Electric Light Orchestra's cellist from February 1972 to July 1972, then rejoined in December 1973 to September 1979.
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 (from which he was expelled). 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 on cello. At that time Hugh was only 17 years old !.
His only recorded album with The Electric Light Orchestra apart from the live LP, was "Eldorado", all the later albums featured him on the credits but apart from a few little cello solos, he didn't perform on them.
McDowell performed with the first live line-up of The Electric Light Orchestra in 1972 while only 19 years old, but left play with Roy Wood's own band Wizzard, for which he played cello and moog synthesizer. His decision to re-join The Electric Light Orchestra was made because he would have had to play more and more keyboards with Wizzard, instead of cello and Jeff Lynne and the other The Electric Light Orchestra mates were once again hunting for a suitable cellist. So he joined the band again and was allowed to perform his own track "Hugh's Solo/Flight Of The Bumble Bee" live on stage which sometimes lasted up to eight minutes.
He returned to The Electric Light Orchestra in 1973, replacing Colin Walker and adding much showmanship to the live act. He remained with the group until Jeff Lynne removed the string players from the line-up.
After the promotional video for "Discovery" in 1979 he wasn't used any more in The Electric Light Orchestra. He wasn't fired, just never booked to play in any more The Electric Light Orchestra projects.
In the autumn of 1980, he started to teach part-time at a London music school. He conducted a children's orchestra and other orchestras at several London Schools.
Hugh later joined the 20th Century Chamber Groups George W. Welch, Harmonie Band and Quorum with whom he toured worldwide. Every now and then the quartet Quorum perform gigs of classical music.
For a short time, circa 1982, he was a member of Radio Stars and recorded the single, "My Mother Said" with the group.
In 1989 he re-joined The Electric Light Orchestra for the third time in Bev Bevan's Electric Light Orchestra Part II again as a live cello player for their first UK tour after which he was dropped. He then teamed up with Mik Kaminski & Kelly Groucutt's band OrKestra with whom he recorded as guest musician on their album and performed every now and then with them.
In 1991 he performed with Electric Light Orchestra Part II.
Hugh is also involved with computer programming and has published a computer program for music composing in 1992 which is called "Fractal Music Composer". He developed a suite for 4 programmes; Mandelbrot Set Composer, Julia Set Composer, Mandelbrot Zoom and Play Midi.
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 and appeared as a guest artist on the 2007 Port Mahadia album, Echoes in time.
McDowell has also arranged and recorded for numerous pop, rock and jazz-fusion albums as well as collaborating in dance, film, and theater projects.