An Action to die for, of Clarity and Speed and Brilliance
Named by The Economist as one of Twenty Living Polymaths, Stephen Hough combines a distinguished career as a pianist with those of composer and writer. He was the first classical performer to be awarded a MacArthur Fellowship and was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the New Year’s Honours 2014.
On 1 June 2020, Hough re-opened Wigmore Hall, performing the UK’s first live classical music concert in a major venue since the nationwide lockdown in March. Later that summer he made his 29th appearance at the BBC Proms performing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Currently scheduled concerts in 2020/21 include concerto performances with the Philharmonia, London Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic orchestras, NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover, Cincinnati and Atlanta symphony orchestras, Seoul Philharmonic and the National Symphony Orchestra, Taiwan.
Hough is a regular guest at festivals such as Salzburg, Mostly Mozart, Edinburgh, La Roque-d'Anthéron and Aldeburgh. Recent highlights include performances with New York and London Philharmonic orchestras, Wiener Symphoniker, Cleveland and Minnesota orchestras, and the Finnish Radio, Tokyo, Toronto, Singapore, Iceland and City of Birmingham Symphony orchestras. In the 2019/20 season, he spearheaded a five-concert Brahms series at Wigmore Hall, performing with Renaud Capuçon, Steven Isserlis, Michael Collins and the Castalian Quartet.
Hough’s extensive discography of over 60 CDs has garnered international awards including the Diapason d’Or de l’Année, several Grammy nominations, and eight Gramophone Awards including Record of the Year and the Gold Disc.
Recent releases include Beethoven’s complete piano concertos (with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra under Hannu Lintu), ‘The Final Piano Pieces’ of Brahms, solo piano works by Debussy, Hough’s ‘Dream Album’, and a live recording of Schumann and Dvořák’s piano concertos with Andris Nelsons and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, all for Hyperion Records. His award-winning iPad app The Liszt Sonata was released by Touch Press in 2013.
As a composer Hough is writing the commissioned work for the 2022 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, to be performed by all 30 competitors in May/June 2022. His String Quartet No. 1 will be premiered by the Takács Quartet in December 2021 at Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Costa Mesa. He has been commissioned by Wigmore Hall, Musée du Louvre, London’s National Gallery, Westminster Abbey, Westminster Cathedral, the Genesis Foundation, Gilmore International Keyboard Festival, the Walter W. Naumburg Foundation, the Cliburn Foundation, Orquesta Sinfónica de Euskadi and the Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet. His music is published by Josef Weinberger Ltd.
As an author, his collection of essays Rough Ideas: Reflections on Music and More, published by Faber & Faber in August 2019, won the 2020 Royal Philharmonic Society Awards’ Storytelling category and was named one of Financial Times’ Book of the Year 2019. Hough’s first novel, The Final Retreat, was published by Sylph Editions in March 2018. He has been published by The New York Times, The Telegraph, The Times, The Guardian and the Evening Standard. Hough is an Honorary Bencher of the Middle Temple, an Honorary Member of the Royal Philharmonic Society, a 2019-22 Visiting Fellow at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, a Visiting Professor at the Royal Academy of Music, the International Chair of Piano Studies at the Royal.