With a singular artistic vision that transcends musical fashions and trends, Stephen 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.

Stephen has appeared with most of the major European and American orchestras and plays recitals regularly in the major halls and concert series around the world. He is also a guest at festivals such as Salzburg, Mostly Mozart, Aspen, Ravinia, Tanglewood, Blossom, Hollywood Bowl, Edinburgh, Aldeburgh and the BBC Proms, where he has made over 15 concerto appearances. Recent engagements include performances with the New York, Los Angeles and London Philharmonics, Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras, London Symphony, the Berlin Philharmonic in a worldwide televised performance with Sir Simon Rattle, and a US tour with the Russian National Orchestra led by Vladimir Jurowski.

An exclusive Hyperion recording artist, many of Stephen’s catalogue of over 40 CDs have garnered international prizes, including the Deutsche Schallplattenpreis, Diapason d’or, Monde de la musique, several Grammy nominations, and 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-Saëns Piano Concertos as the best recording of the past 30 years. His 2005 live recording of the Rachmaninoff Piano Concertos became the fastest selling recording in Hyperion's history, while his 1987 recording of Hummel concertos is Chandos' best-selling disc to date. His most recent release is Stephen Hough in Recital, a programme juxtaposing variations by Mendelssohn and Beethoven against waltzes by Weber, Chopin, Saint-Saëns, Chabrier, Debussy, and Liszt.

Stephen is also an avid writer and composer. In addition to scholarly and critically-acclaimed CD liner notes and articles for music publications, he has written for The Guardian, The Times, and was invited by the Telegraph Media Group in December 2008 to start a cultural blog. He has also written extensively about theology for the print media and was recently interviewed on a special guest-edited episode of BBC Radio 4’s The Today Programme by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales. Hough’s book, The Bible as Prayer, was published by Continuum in 2007.

Earlier in 2007, Stephen's’s cello concerto The Loneliest Wilderness was premiered by Steven Isserlis and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and two choral works — Mass of Innocence and Experience and Missa Mirabilis — were performed at London’s Westminster Abbey and Westminster Cathedral respectively. In January 2009, Stephen’s trio, Was mit den Tränen geschieht, commissioned by members of the Berlin Philharmonic, received its world premiere at the Berlin Philharmonie. He also created string sextet Requiem Aeternum: after Victoria for the National Gallery’s major autumn 2009 exhibition, The Sacred Made Real: Spanish Painting and Sculpture 1600–1700, and has published numerous compositions with Josef Weinberger Ltd.