CULTURAL ICONS AND THEIR PANAMA HATS (PART VIII)

STEPHEN HOUGH

“Handmade with the finest threads you can imagine, it takes almost a year to make each hat - being on the Island I think it would be very useful protection against the sun and would be a rather splendid item to have.”

One of the greatest musicians of our time, the British concert pianist Stephen Hough began his musical career at the Royal Northern College of Music, followed by a master’s degree at the prestigious Juilliard School in New York. Since launching his professional performing career in 1983 he has performed in all the great concert halls around the world (including 20 BBC proms concerto appearances), and has over 50 recordings to his name garnering numerous international awards, including several Grammy nominations, 8 Gramophone Magazine awards and the Gramophone ‘Gold Disc’ award.

But Mr Hough’s talents don’t just end when he exits stage left - he is regarded as a true polymath, also know as a distinguished writer, composer and painter. His intellectual abilities were recognised in 2001 when he became the first classical music performer ever to receive a MacArthur Fellowship, joining prominent writers and scientists who have made significant contributions in their fields. In 2009 he was also named by The Economist and Intelligent Life magazines as one of 20 living polymaths.

Aside from Hough’s regular performance, recording and teaching commitments, as a writer, he regularly contributes articles for the Guardian, The Times, Gramophone and BBC Music Magazine, and for seven years wrote a blog for the Telegraph which became one of the most popular and influential forums for cultural discussion. Having joined the Roman Catholic Church aged 19, and considered joining the priesthood on several occasions his book, The Bible as Prayer, was published by Continuum and Paulist Press in 2007.

In October 2016 Stephen Hough appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, speaking honestly and openly about his many passions, childhood and personal life, while his ‘castaway’ selections revealed an eclectic taste in music, and a love of the ultimate in sophisticated headwear - the Panama Hat, selecting the finest Montecristi Panama hat, supplied by Optimo Fine Hats in Chicago, as his one luxury item (a snip at $20,000!).

Style: The English Gentleman with a touch of New York sophistication

He Says: “Ironically, it’s important for musicians to step aside even from music, and from listening to music. I think it’s terribly important for musicians to have silence in their lives because we’re dealing constantly with something that breaks the silence.”

If you’re looking for a beautifully made Panama hat that will stand the test of time in terms of quality and style, we recommend our Signature Teardrop Fedora.


Ang Guttridge
Ang Guttridge

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