With a singular artistic vision that transcends musical fashions and trends, Stephen Hough is widely regarded for his supreme mastery of his instrument. A unique presence on the international concert scene, Hough combines the imagination and pianistic colour of the past with the scholarship of the present to illuminate the very essence of the music he plays.
“Hough’s playing has such authority and panache, its balance between virtuosity and vividly communicated expression so finely judged, that every perfectly scaled moment is as intensely realised as every other. Few other pianists around today play Chopin with as much understanding and poised mastery as this.” The Guardian
Two Nocturnes, Op. 27, Nos. 1 and 2
Sonata No. 3 in F minor, op. 5
Piano Sonata No. 2 (notturno luminoso)*
Carnaval Op. 9
Stephen Hough’s Piano Sonata No. 2 (notturno luminoso) is a joint commission with funds generously supplied by the Lakeside Arts Centre, Nottingham, The Schubert Club, Swansea Festival of Music and the Arts and the Vancouver Recital Society.
“The most perfect piano playing conceivable” – The Guardian
“A virtuoso who begins where others leave off” – Washington Post
With a singular artistic vision that transcends musical fashions and trends, Stephen Hough is widely regarded as one of the most important and distinctive pianists of his generation. In recognition of his achievements, he was awarded a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship in 2001, joining prominent scientists, writers and others who have made unique contributions to contemporary life.
Stephen Hough has appeared with most of the major European and American orchestras and plays recitals regularly in the major halls and concert series around the world. He is also a guest at festivals such as Salzburg, Mostly Mozart, Aspen, Ravinia, Tanglewood, Blossom, Hollywood Bowl, Edinburgh, Aldeburgh and the BBC Proms, where he has made over 15 concerto appearances. Recent engagements include performances with the New York and London Philharmonics, the London and San Francisco Symphonies, a US tour with the Russian National Orchestra led by Vladimir Jurowski, and a worldwide televised performance with the Berlin Philharmonic under Sir Simon Rattle.
In 2009 Hough played recitals in the Royal Festival Hall as well as becoming the first British instrumentalist to give a solo recital on the main stage of Carnegie Hall in nearly 20 years. He also performed all of the works for piano and orchestra of Tchaikovsky over four BBC Proms and will return to the Chicago Symphony in 2010/11 to play the same Tchaikovsky cycle over six concerts. Other engagements include appearances with the orchestras of Pittsburgh, Madrid, Los Angeles, Budapest, Montreal, Houston, Gothenberg, Cleveland and Philadelphia, amongst others.
An exclusive Hyperion recording artist, many of Stephen Hough’s catalogue of over 50 CDs have garnered international prizes, including the Deutsche Schallplattenpreis, Diapason d’or, Monde de la musique, several Grammy nominations, and eight Gramophone Magazine Awards, including ‘Record of the Year’ in 1996 and 2003, and the Gramophone ‘Gold Disc’ Award in 2008, which named his complete Saint-Saëns Piano Concertos as the best recording of the past 30 years. His 2005 live recording of the Rachmaninoff Piano Concertos became the fastest selling recording in Hyperion’s history, while his 1987 recording of Hummel concertos is Chandos’ best-selling disc to date. His most recent releases are the Complete Works for Piano and Orchestra by Tchaikovsky with the Minnesota Orchestra led by Osmo Vänskä, and a Chopin recital: ‘Late Masterpieces’.
Stephen Hough is also an avid writer and composer. In addition to scholarly and critically-acclaimed CD liner notes and articles for music publications, he has written for The Guardian, The Times, and was invited by the Telegraph Media Group in December 2008 to start a cultural blog. Hough has written extensively about theology for the print media and has been interviewed on two special guest-edited episodes of BBC Radio 4’s The Today Programme by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor and Baroness Shirley Williams. Hough’s book, The Bible as Prayer, was published by Continuum and Paulist Press in 2007.
Earlier in 2007, Hough’s cello concerto ‘The Loneliest Wilderness’ was premiered by Steven Isserlis and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and two choral works – Mass of Innocence and Experience and Missa Mirabilis – were performed at London’s Westminster Abbey and Westminster Cathedral respectively. In January 2009, Hough’s trio, Was mit den Tränen geschieht, commissioned by members of the Berlin Philharmonic, received its world premiere at the Berlin Philharmonie. A string sextet, Requiem Aeternum: after Victoria, was commissioned by the National Gallery for their major autumn 2009 exhibition, The Sacred Made Real: Spanish Painting and Sculpture 1600-1700. Hough has also published numerous compositions with Josef Weinberger Ltd.
A resident of London, Stephen Hough is a visiting professor at the Royal Academy of Music in London and holds the International Chair of Piano Studies at his alma mater, the Royal Northern College in Manchester. In 2011 he was awarded an honorary Doctorate by the University of Liverpool.