Vietnam: British pianist banned from performing



British pianist banned from performing in Hanoi

Award-winning British concert pianist Stephen Hough, one of the most critically admired pianists active today, has had a planned performance in Hanoi cancelled, evidently over his gay identity and forthright views on the Roman Catholic Church

Vietnamese officials said they worried about that they cannot guarantee his safety and refused to grant Stephen Hough a license, according to the London-newspaper The Telegraph. The Hanoi concert would have been his first performance in Southeast Asia.

The cognac maker company who invited Stephen Hough to perform in Vietnam, Hennessy, promptly withdrew their invitation to the 45-year-old musician, “in order to prevent potentially tense situations with the regime”.

The pianist told The Telegraph: “The engagement was booked six months ago and everything was going ahead. Yesterday I found out that the Ministry for Culture and Information had been to my website and decided that they could not guarantee my personal safety.”
In Vietnam, an outspoken Catholic priest had recently been arrested.

An article on Hough’s website denounces the Catholic Church’s position on homosexuality. Hough lives with a long-term partner, and has been a Roman Catholic since the age of 19. He has often written on his sexuality’s relationship with both his music and his religion.

Stephen Hough has received numerous awards in his career, including a 2001 MacArthur Foundation “genius grant,” and he is the only soloist to have won Gramophone magazine’s Record of the Year award twice.

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Playbill Arts – 29 May 2007:
‘Pianist Stephen Hough Barred from Playing Concert in Vietnam’

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