To me, spirituality is the everyday stuff which we're dealing with all the time. It's not going into some ecstatic trance. It's changing a nappy, or making a meal at the end of a very tiring day.

Stephen Hough

Stephen Hough

Profession: Musician
Nationality: British

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There are many doors to the heart.

I was out of the U.K. as a care-free, fun-loving student for much of Mrs. Thatcher's time in Downing Street, and as I didn't own a television in New York, never read the newspapers, and am old enough to have lived before the Internet, she is a shadowy figure in my memory.

When you're a kid, Beethoven is Beethoven, but as I've grown older, my astonishment at the sheer inventiveness of the man has increased, and I have an appreciation that I didn't have when I was in my 20s.

I have had a place in New York in the musicians' district on the Upper West Side since 1986.

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.

If I'm walking along the street, ideas come. Ideas about things that I'm interested in. I've jotted them down in the past on bits of paper and then, more recently, on apps in my phone. I've always written poetry since I was a kid.

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.

I like the extras in life. Concentrating on serious things doesn't mean you can't also enjoy the lighter ones.

Silence is the necessary soil for any thought to flourish.

Many people who don't like Rachmaninov's style consider the 'Rhapsody' his masterpiece. It's written fantastically well for orchestra and piano. He combines a lot of effervescence with a deep, Romantic spirit.

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?

At moments of acute joy or sorrow, men and women throughout history have sung or reached for musical instruments to express the inexpressible. When minds are taut with emotional entanglement, there seems to be an inner compulsive instinct to release and harness this tension through the measured vibrations in the air that we call music.

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

A priest once said to me, 'Think of a priest going to the altar as you walk out on the stage.' I would hate to think that anyone thought I was coming to preach. But art and music open up things that you can't put into words. It's about bringing joy when you go out there.