Stephen Hough chats to Limelight’s editor about Aussie audiences and why chefs may be as important as conductors.

First of all, congratulations on winning Limelight International Artist of the Year. 

Oh thanks, I’m absolutely thrilled and delighted. It was a lovely surprise. I feel very close to Australia in so many ways and I always enjoy visiting and playing there as much as anywhere in the world, so it makes me particularly happy.

You play all across the world, is there something special about Australian audiences?

I think almost every night – even in the same city – an audience is different. I think there’s a sense, if I can generalise about Australia, that there’s a freshness, because I think there isn’t that much going on. In London there are so many things going on – two opera companies, five symphony orchestras, the recitals – you don’t have that in Sydney. So I think when people do go to concerts, there’s a sense of something special about it.

I think also there’s also something of the New World mentality about it – that we haven’t seen and done it all before, and there are wonderful things still new in life to discover. Whether I’m projecting that,...