One of the most distinctive artists of his generation, Sir Stephen Hough combines a distinguished career as a pianist with those of composer and writer.
Named by The Economist as one of Twenty Living Polymaths, Hough was the first classical performer to be awarded a MacArthur Fellowship (2001). He was awarded Northwestern University’s 2008 Jean Gimbel Lane Prize in Piano, won the Royal Philharmonic Society Instrumentalist Award in 2010, and in 2016 was made an Honorary Member of RPS. In 2014 he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) and was knighted in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2022.
Since taking first prize at the 1983 Naumburg Competition in New York, Sir Stephen has appeared with most of the major European, Asian and American orchestras and plays recitals regularly in major halls and concert series around the world from London's Royal Festival Hall to New York’s Carnegie Hall. He has been a regular guest at festivals such as Aldeburgh, Aspen, Blossom, Edinburgh, La Roque d'Anthéron, Hollywood Bowl, Mostly Mozart, Salzburg, Tanglewood, Verbier, Blossom, and the BBC Proms, where he has made 29 concerto appearances, including playing all of the works of Tchaikovsky for piano and orchestra, a series he later repeated with the Chicago Symphony.
Many of his catalogue of over 60 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.
Published by Josef Weinberger, Sir Stephen has composed works for orchestra, choir, chamber ensemble, organ, harpsichord and solo piano. He has been commissioned by the Takacs Quartet, the Cliburn, the Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet, the Gilmore Foundation, The Genesis Foundation, the Walter W. Naumburg Foundation, London’s National Gallery, Wigmore Hall, Le Musée de Louvre and Musica Viva Australia among others.
A noted writer, Sir Stephen has contributed articles for The New York Times, the Guardian, The Times, Gramophone and BBC Music Magazine, and he wrote a blog for The Telegraph for seven years which became one of the most popular and influential forums for cultural discussion and for which he wrote over six hundred articles. He has published four books: The Bible as Prayer (Bloomsbury and Paulist Press, 2007); a novel: The Final Retreat (Sylph Editions, 2018); a book of essays: Rough Ideas: Reflections on Music and More (Faber & Faber and Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2019); and a memoir: Enough: Scenes from Childhood (Faber & Faber, 2023).
Sir Stephen 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.