There's certainly no doubt that commercialism has entered classical music to such a degree that almost no one seems to care anymore about the physical and mental health of the performer.

Stephen Hough

Stephen Hough

Profession: Musician
Nationality: British

Some suggestions for you :

Musicians keep playing when the lights go out, when people are suffering, confused, or angry.

In school, my favourite class was when we were given a subject for an essay on which we could freewheel. And poetry: I've always written it and loved the way words interact, in meaning and in sound.

I don't watch television! At least not when I'm traveling. For some reason, I have always found it depressing to watch television in hotel rooms. I try to use that time, as well as time on planes, to write.

I was only listening to rock music, burning joss sticks in my bedroom, wanting only to be a disc jockey, and watching six hours of television a night - the worst kind of teenage alienation.

I can admire music where you feel the composer has everything organized and perfectly shaped, but it doesn't touch me. I like to feel that a composer is wounded, like all of us.

I've loved Alfred Cortot's playing from an early age, and I never tire of hearing his recordings, particularly Chopin and Schumann from the 1920s and '30s.

The things I do outside of playing the piano are done out of an inner necessity, not just because I want to try my hand at different things.

Painting is just a hobby. I really don't think of it much more than that. But writing music and writing words... my life would feel as if it had a big hole if I took those away.

No two composers were more totally at home in front of the piano than Debussy and Chopin, hands to keys to strings to sound waves to pen and paper in one perfect gesture of inspiration.

I really feel something's missing if I'm not writing.

I think the actual art of expressing yourself is a very important part of being human. And an important part of being a performer is understanding what it's like to create yourself.

Once or twice, I've taken the Gideon Bible out of the drawer, opened it at random, and found myself stuck in the middle of a genealogical list. And that's when I thought: why not cherry-pick the best bits, passages that people can actually use?

If you arrive at a concert ready to play your piece, that's not nearly good enough. You must have your music ready to the point where you can play it on a short rehearsal, after a long plane flight, on a strange piano, having had an unpleasant lunch, in an unfriendly atmosphere. You have to be so over-prepared that you can cope with anything.

Discovering how to spend leisure time well, especially during a time of austerity, could be as important in the effort to reduce crime as having extra police on the streets, and increasing the population of concert halls may actually help decrease the population of prisons.