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Renaissance man: Stephen Hough

Renaissance man: Stephen Hough

Posted Friday, March 18, 2016   |   2244 views   |   Music   |   Comments (0) Pianist, composer, writer and painter: Stephen Hough is a true polymath, although even he finds himself challenged by Dvoˇrák’s tricky concerto, as he tells Jessica Duchen

Stephen Hough has been top of the league among British pianists for so long that it’s easy to forget how much further his reach goes. Fans stop to greet him in local north London caf?s; readers of the national newspaper for which he blogs wait avidly for his next column, on any topic from music to faith, from human rights to hat collecting.

Born in Cheshire, though of Australian extraction that allows him to hold an Australian passport, Hough studied
at Chetham’s School of Music and the Juilliard School. He has been showered with awards – a CBE, a MacArthur Fellowship, a Royal Philharmonic Society Award and Gramophone Awards galore – and, not long ago, was named by The Economist as one of 20 living polymaths.

Now 54, Hough is increasingly celebrated as a composer, having recently given the world premiere of his Piano
Sonata No 3,‘Trinitas’; his compositions extend well beyond the piano, even including a test piece for a piccolo competition in the US. He paints; exhibitions have been held of his work. Oh, and he’s writing a novel, though all he’ll say about it at this stage is that his mother probably shouldn’t read it. One wonders, sometimes, how on earth Hough makes time for everything.

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