Hough, Stephen

Music in Print

Roald Dahl concert works

One of the most distinctive artists of his generation, Stephen Hough combines a distinguished career as a concert pianist with those of a composer and a writer. Named by The Economist as one of 20 Living Polymaths, Hough was the first classical performer to be awarded a MacArthur Fellowship, whereby he joined prominent scientists, writers, and others who have made unique contributions to contemporary life.

Born in north west England, Hough’s career was launched when he won the first prize at the 1983 Naumburg Competition in New York. He has since performed with many of the world’s major orchestras and given recitals at the most prestigious concert halls. He is a regular guest at festivals such as Salzburg, Mostly Mozart, Tanglewood, Edinburgh and the BBC Proms, where he has made over twenty concerto appearances. In 2010, he was named winner of the UK’s Royal Philharmonic Society Instrumentalist Award.

In the 2012/13 season, Hough is BBC Symphony Orchestra’s Artist-in-Focus performing concertos by Hummel and Brahms over three concerts as well as giving a solo recital at Barbican. Other recitals include New York’s Carnegie Hall and Bridgewater Hall, Manchester. This season includes returns to the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, the Hong Kong Philharmonic, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and San Francisco Symphony orchestras, and major orchestras in Australia, Austria and France. Recent highlights include appearances with the Budapest Festival Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony and Pittsburgh Symphony orchestras, The Cleveland, Philadelphia, Czech Philharmonic and London Philharmonic orchestras, and the Russian National Orchestra. He was Wigmore Hall’s Artist-in-Residence throughout the 2011/12 season.

Hough’s catalogue of over fifty CDs has garnered four Grammy nominations and eight Gramophone Awards including Record of the Year twice and the Gold Disc. In 2011, his recording of the complete Chopin Waltzes was awarded France’s Diapason d’Or de l’Année. In the same year, Liszt’s bicentenary, his recordings of the composer’s Sonata and Années de pèlerinage, Suisse were both selected as the ‘Building a Library’ top choice by BBC Radio 3. Hyperion Records released ‘Stephen Hough’s French Album’ in autumn 2012.

As a composer, Hough is represented exclusively by Josef Weinberger Ltd. He has been commissioned by Wigmore Hall, the Musée du Louvre, Australia’s Musica Viva, members of the Berliner Philharmoniker, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, London’s National Gallery, Westminster Abbey and Westminster Cathedral. BIS Records released an all-Hough disc ‘Broken Branches’ in 2011, and The Prince Consort’s recording of Hough’s Other Love Songs on Linn Records received great acclaim. In autumn 2012, Hough premiered his second Piano Sonata, notturno luminoso, jointly commissioned by Lakeside Arts Centre, University of Nottingham; The Schubert Club, St. Paul, Minnesota; Singapore International Piano Festival; Swansea Festival of Music and the Arts; and the Vancouver Recital Society.

As a celebrated writer, Stephen Hough has been published by The Guardian, The Times, and The Daily Telegraph, where he is author of one of the most popular cultural blogs receiving over 10,000 weekly page views. In October 2012, Broadbent Gallery in Notting Hill, London hosted the first exhibition of Hough’s paintings. A London resident, Hough is a Visiting Professor at the Royal Academy of Music and holds the International Chair of Piano Studies at his Alma Mater, the Royal Northern College of Music.

Stephen Hough has emerged as a unique presence on the international concert scene. From highly acclaimed performances of standard repertoire, in recital and with the world’s finest orchestras, to his interest in discovering unusual and neglected works, he combines the imagination and pianistic colour of the past with the scholarship of the present, illuminating the very essence of the music he plays. His recordings have won international prizes such as the Diapason d’Or, the Deutscher Schallplattenpreis, Classic CD and Gramophone Awards - in 1996 his Hyperion CD of concertos by Scharwenka and Sauer with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Lawrence Foster was awarded both Gramophone Magazine’s ‘Concerto Record of the Year’ as well as their overall ‘Recording of the Year’. He plays regular chamber music concerts, is a keen writer (providing liner notes for many of his recordings), and several of his own compositions and transcriptions are published by Josef Weinberger Ltd.