Performance Monday, March 4, 2013 | 8 PM

Stephen Hough

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
Stephen Hough’s performances are always imbued with deep warmth and sensitivity. On this program, he performs Schumann’s Carnaval, along with Brahms’s massive Third Sonata and music by Chopin.


  • Stephen Hough, Piano


  • CHOPIN Nocturne in C-sharp Minor, Op. 27, No. 1
  • CHOPIN Nocturne in D-flat Major, Op. 27, No. 2
  • BRAHMS Piano Sonata No. 3 in F Minor, Op. 5
  • STEPHEN HOUGH Piano Sonata No. 2, "Notturno luminoso" (NY Premiere)
  • SCHUMANN Carnaval

  • Encores:
  • LOVE "Das alte Lied"
  • CHOPIN Nocturne in E-flat Major, Op. 9, No. 2



    Stephen Hough

    With an artistic vision that transcends musical fashions and trends, Stephen Hough is widely regarded as one of the most important and distinctive pianists of his generation. In recognition of his achievements, he was awarded a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship in 2001, joining prominent scientists, writers, and others who have made unique contributions to contemporary life. He received the 2008 Northwestern University School of Music's Jean Gimbel Lane Prize in Piano Performance, and was the 2010 winner of the Royal Philharmonic Society Instrumentalist Award.

    Mr. Hough has appeared with most of the major American and European orchestras, and plays recitals regularly in the important halls and concert series around the world. Recent engagements include recitals in London, Paris, Hong Kong, Sydney, Chicago, and San Francisco; performances with the New York, Los Angeles, and Czech philharmonics; the London Philharmonic Orchestra; the Pittsburgh, Chicago, and Toronto symphony orchestras; the San Francisco and St. Louis symphonies; and the Cleveland, Philadelphia, Minnesota, and Russian National orchestras; and a televised performance with the Berliner Philharmoniker and Sir Simon Rattle.

    Mr. Hough is a regular guest at festivals such as Salzburg, Ravinia, Tanglewood, Blossom, Hollywood Bowl, Edinburgh, Aldeburgh, and the BBC Proms, where he has made more than 20 appearances. In the summer of 2009, he played all of the works for piano and orchestra of Tchaikovsky over four Prom concerts, three of which were broadcast live on BBC Television. During the summer of 2012, he returned to the Aspen, Grand Teton, and Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart festivals.

    Highlights of Mr. Hough's 2012-2013 season include return engagements with the Boston and Baltimore symphony orchestras, the San Francisco and Houston symphonies, and the Hong Kong Philharmonic and Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, as well as solo recitals in Vancouver, St. Paul, and at London's Barbican Centre. He will also be the artist-in-residence with the BBC Symphony Orchestra in London.

    Mr. Hough's catalogue of over 50 CDs has garnered numerous international prizes, including the Deutscher Schallplattenpreis, Diapason d'Or, Monde de la musique, four Grammy nominations, and eight Gramophone Awards, including Record of the Year in 1996 and 2003, and the Gramophone "Gold Disc" Award in 2008. His most recent recordings are the Grieg and Liszt concertos for Hyperion and a disc of his own compositions for BIS Records. He recorded the two Brahms concertos with the Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra in January 2013.

    As a composer, Mr. Hough has been commissioned by the musicians of the Berliner Philharmoniker, London's National Gallery, Westminster Abbey, Wigmore Hall, Musée du Louvre, and Musica Viva Australia, among other organizations. He premiered his Sonata for Piano, "Broken Branches," at Wigmore Hall in June 2011, and the world premiere of his Missa Mirabilis, commissioned by the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, took place in April 2012. Mr. Hough's numerous compositions for solo piano, chamber ensembles, orchestra, and voice are published by Josef Weinberger Ltd.

    A resident of London, Mr. Hough is a visiting professor at the Royal Academy of Music in London and holds the International Chair of Piano Studies at his alma mater, the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. Please visit for more information.

    More Info


Brahms's Sonata for Piano No. 3 in F Minor, Scherzo
Stephen Hough, Piano

At a Glance

FRÉDÉRIC CHOPIN  Two Nocturnes, Op. 27

In the 1830s and '40s, Chopin revolutionized piano writing in a large body of nocturnes, waltzes, mazurkas, and other solo pieces that imbued the brilliance of the salon style with unprecedented poetic depth. Schumann, himself a master of character pieces, extolled Chopin's accomplishment, in which, he wrote, "imagination and technique share dominion side by side." Schumann likened Chopin's playing to the sound of an Aeolian harp, as illustrated by the two Op. 27 Nocturnes of 1835.

JOHANNES BRAHMS  Piano Sonata No. 3 in F Minor, Op. 5

Written when the composer was only 20, the third and last of Brahms's solo piano sonatas is characterized by a compelling blend of muscular majesty and tender lyricism. Although Brahms was no match for Chopin in terms of keyboard technique, his performances of his early sonatas mesmerized Schumann, who referred to them as "veiled symphonies."

STEPHEN HOUGH  Piano Sonata No. 2, "Notturno Luminoso"

As its subtitle implies, Stephen Hough's newest work suggests the brightness of a brash city in the hours of darkness. Also suggested, however, are nighttime's heightened emotions: its mysticism, magic, and imaginative possibilities.

ROBERT SCHUMANN  Carnaval, Op. 9

Like most of Schumann's solo piano works of the 1830s, Carnaval was in part a musical valentine to his future bride, Clara Wieck. But it also memorializes his first love, a young pianist named Ernestine von Fricken, to whom the composer was briefly betrothed. Underlying the score are the contrasting personalities of Schumann's fictitious alter egos: the stormy, impulsive Florestan and the dreamy, ruminative Eusebius.


Program Notes
This performance is part of Keyboard Virtuosos II.