Stephen Hough: Getting mugged changed my life

Stephen Hough: Getting mugged changed my life


norman lebrecht

March 22, 2017

The pianist has talked about a boyhood incident that made him change his faith and his outlook on life.

You can read the interview here.


  • Adam Yates says:

    Test comment

  • Alexander Davidson says:

    I trust that it was the author, and not Stephen Hough himself, who described The Dream of Gerontius as a Mass. I am not myself a religious person, but it does worry me that ever increasing ignorance of even the most basic religious knowledge (such as what the Mass is) will eventually result in a society in which people will have no way of comprehending the cultural achievements of historically Christian civilizations.

  • Jeffrey Biegel says:

    Not sure if Stephen reads your blog, Norman. But this is the first time I have heard of this. Stephen-I don’t think you shared this while at Juilliard. You have always been one of the most special artists and musicians who has a sensitive and singing touch at the keyboard which is reflective of a by-gone era. Perhaps what you experienced gave you a deeper sense of purpose and inner strength over time to translate your childhood experience and mirror your feelings through music. For those who may have known Steve Borell, who had been the Chief PianoTechnician for Steinway and Baldwin pianos in New York, he once said to me: “The keyboard is like a mirror, which reflects everything about the person playing it.” For those who know Stephen, you know his multi-faceted gifts in music, as a performer, arranger and composer. He is also a brilliant writer. Knowing him since the early 1980s, he has always been one of the most engaging performers, a shining and guiding light in music. Perhaps many of us have experiences which have shaped our destiny. It is not something easy to share on a daily basis, so thank you, Stephen, for opening that door to your past with us. I can personally share that when I was around the same age, I remember finding it necessary to track a different walking route to my home because there were several older locals who had similarly threatened physical violence if money wasn’t delivered. I am sure this story rings true with many. The difference was that I was already playing the piano and these dudes threatened to break my fingers if I didn’t pay them. Somehow I got away, and never took the same route home., rather than attempt to get involved in what could become a dangerous and violent situation. For sure, these experiences are seeds of what becomes of us. Keep playing, Stephen–your legacy is phenomenal, dear friend.

    • Ruben Greenberg says:

      What a beautiful tribute. Why do we usually have to wait until a person is dead to say how we feel about her/him? There’s no time like the present.

  • Philippa Ballard says:

    There was a car crash that gave SH a similar crisis / turning point. I remember that from another interview.