Stephen Hough

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About Stephen Hough

One of the best-loved British pianists currently before the public, Sir Stephen Hough is a cultural polymath also active as a composer, painter, and author. His stylish pianism and spectacular technique is evident in his 1986 recording of two of Hummel’s piano concertos. Two “Piano Albums” followed (1988, 1993), with virtuoso works and encore pieces mostly by pianist/composers, which confirmed Hough’s desire to explore little-known repertoire. His combination of technical flair, rich color palette, and expressive individuality signaled a pianist of rare sensibility. Born in 1961, Hough studied at Chetham’s School of Music and the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, before moving to New York City to study at the Juilliard School. His 1994 recording of piano concertos by Franz Xaver Scharwenka and Emil von Sauer and 1995 album of solo music by York Bowen illustrate Hough’s continued advocacy of neglected repertoire, where his technical élan and compelling artistry make the best case for the music. The success of his early “Piano Albums” led to additional collections grouped by nationality (English, French, Spanish), where his ability to bring nobility and sincerity to easily over-sentimentalized music comes to the fore. Hough has recorded more than 50 albums for Hyperion Records, including the piano concertos of Rachmaninoff, Saint-Saëns, Tchaikovsky, and Beethoven. A sensitive chamber musician, Hough has also made many recordings with the cellist Steven Isserlis, while many of his own compositions—orchestral, chamber, vocal, and piano—have also been recorded.

Heswall, Cheshire, England
November 22, 1961

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