"The most perfect piano playing conceivable"
- The Guardian
"A virtuoso who begins where others leave off"
- Washington Post
Stephen Hough is regarded as a renaissance man of his time. Over the course of his career he has distinguished himself as a true polymath, not only securing a reputation as a uniquely insightful concert pianist, but also as a writer and composer. Mr. Hough is commended for his mastery of the instrument along with an individual and inquisitive mind which has earned him a multitude of prestigious awards and a long-standing international following.
In 2001 Mr. Hough was the first classical performing artist to win a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. He was awarded Northwestern University’s 2008 Jean Gimbel Lane Prize in Piano, won the Royal Philharmonic Society Instrumentalist Award in 2010 and in January 2014 was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth in the New Year’s Honors List. He has appeared with most of the major European and American orchestras and plays recitals regularly in major halls and concert series around the world. His recent engagements include recitals in Chicago, Hong Kong, London, New York’s Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, Paris, Boston, San Francisco, the Kennedy Center and Sydney; performances with the Czech, London and New York Philharmonics, the Chicago, Boston, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, St. Louis, National, Detroit, Dallas, Atlanta and Toronto symphonies, and the Philadelphia, Minnesota, Budapest Festival and Russian National Orchestras; and a performance televised worldwide with the Berlin Philharmonic and Sir Simon Rattle. He is also a regular guest at festivals such as Aldeburgh, Aspen, Blossom, Edinburgh, Hollywood Bowl, Mostly Mozart, Salzburg, Tanglewood, Verbier, Chicago’s Grant Park, Blossom, and the BBC Proms, where he has made over 20 concerto appearances, including playing all of the works written by Tchaikovsky for piano and orchestra over the summer of 2009, a series he later repeated with the Chicago Symphony.
Mr. Hough’s 15/16 season begins with an extensive tour to Asia, which includes complete Beethoven cycles in Australia and Singapore, followed by recitals in Beijing, Taipei and Tokyo. That season continues with return appearances with the Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the San Francisco, Montreal, Houston, Vancouver and New Jersey symphonies among others in North America as well as re-engagements with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra in Europe; and recitals at New York’s 92nd Street Y, London’s Barbican Centre, and in Quebec, Kansas City and at Dartmouth and Northwestern University.
Many of Mr. Hough’s catalogue of over 50 albums have garnered international prizes including the Deutsche Schallplattenpreis, Diapason d’Or, Monde de la Musique, several Grammy nominations, 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-Saens Piano Concertos as the best recording of the past 30 years. His 2012 recording of the complete Chopin Waltzes received the Diapason d’Or de l’Annee, France’s most prestigious recording award. His 2005 live recording of the Rachmaninoff Piano Concertos was the fastest selling recording in Hyperion’s history, while his 1987 recording of the Hummel concertos remains Chandos’ best-selling disc to date. His most recent releases, all for Hyperion, include Grieg Lyric Pieces; a recording of his mass, “Missa Mirabilis,” with the Colorado Symphony and Andrew Litton; a recital disc with Steven Isserlis including Mr. Hough's Sonata for cello and piano (Les Adieux); a solo recital of Scriabin and Janacek; and the Dvorak and Schumann concertos with the CBSO and Andris Nelsons.
Mr. Hough is also the featured artist in an iPad app about the Liszt Piano Sonata, which includes a fully-filmed performance and was released by the cutting-edge, award-winning company Touch Press.
Published by Josef Weinberger, Mr. Hough has composed works for orchestra, choir, chamber ensemble and solo piano. His “Mass of Innocence and Experience” and “Missa Mirabilis” were respectively commissioned by and performed at London’s Westminster Abbey and Westminster Cathedral. In 2012, the Indianapolis Symphony commissioned and performed Mr. Hough’s own orchestration of “Missa Mirabilis,” which was subsequently performed by the BBC Symphony as part of Mr. Hough’s residency with the orchestra. Mr. Hough has also been commissioned by the musicians of the Berlin Philharmonic, London’s National Gallery, Wigmore Hall, Le Musée de Louvre and Musica Viva Australia among others and he has performed his two piano sonatas, “Sonata No. 1 (broken branches)” and “Sonata No. 2 (notturno luminoso)” on recital programs in London, New York, St. Paul and Chicago.
A noted writer, Mr. Hough regularly contributes articles for The Guardian, The Times, The Tablet, Gramophone and BBC Music Magazine and was invited by The Telegraph in London in 2008 to start a blog that has become one of the most popular and influential forums for cultural discussion. His book, The Bible as Prayer, was published by Continuum and Paulist Press in 2007.Mr. Hough resides in London where he 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 in Manchester. He is also a member of the faculty at The Juilliard School.