houghStephen Hough (6 March)

Pianist, composer, painter, writer on music and theology and virtuoso blogger, Stephen Hough is a native of the Wirral Peninsula. He began taking piano lessons at the age of 5. In 1978 he was a finalist in the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition, winning the piano section. Subsequent prizes include the Terence Judd Award in 1982 and First Prize in the Naumberg International Piano Competition the following year. He studied at Chetham’s School of Music with Gordon Green in Manchester and with Helen Slade-Lipkin in the Juilliard School in New York.

In 2001 he became the first classical music performer to be awarded a MacArthur Fellowship, joining a distinguished group of scientists and writers who have made significant contributions in their fields, and was named eight years later by The Economist and Intelligent Life magazines as one of Twenty Living Polymaths. He is a governor of the Royal Ballet Companies, and is a patron of the Nightingale Project which takes music and art into hospitals, and of Music in Prisons. In 2014 he was awarded a CBE for his services to music.

A list of conductors and orchestras with whom he has worked would encompass some of the most renowned in the world, and his discography includes the concertos of Brahms (with Mark Wigglesworth, at Putney on 17 October), Liszt, Grieg, Saint-Saens, Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov. Among his solo recordings are works by Debussy, Brahms, Ravel, Chopin and Hough himself. He has written a Cello Concerto for Steven Isserlis, with whom he shares the Putney Music stage on this evening.

He loves (and writes about) puddings, perfumes and – as photographs on several of his CD recordings testify – hats.

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