He has already been announced as the Royal Philharmonic Society's Instrumentalist of the Year. Then, just over a week ago, he was unveiled as the Gramophone Award Winner 2013 for his recording on the Hyperion record label of music by Mussorgsky, Pictures From An Exhibition, and some Prokofiev. It has also just been announced that Osborne will be the featured artist in the Wigmore Hall's prestigious Spotlight On... series, where he will appear in a set of five concerts, with repertoire, largely chosen by himself, that will focus on his specialisms, including the music of Beethoven and Michael Tippett.
Though Osborne has been a major international figure for years, he retains his strong Scottish links (as does James MacMillan). These guys could live anywhere but they both remain in their native land. As Osborne put it to me some years ago (to paraphrase): with family in the native town (Linlithgow), why live somewhere like London when, from home, you can be anywhere in a day?
Which is good for us, because it makes it easier for these artists to stay in touch with what we might call their roots and the home audience. Osborne, for example, has close connections with the Royal Conservatoire where, in the early summer, he played Messiaen's Vingt Regards in an epic concert, and with Perth Concert Hall, where he selected the piano which has been much acclaimed, and where, next month, he will launch the latest venture in the Fair City, a major Sunday afternoon series called Perth Piano Sundays.
As far as his latest award is concerned, I did wonder what Osborne's reaction might be. After all, as I put it to him about his Gramophone award: "You must have these things hanging from the ceiling. Does one more count, I wonder? Does it mean anything to you? What was your reaction on learning of the latest award?"
"Actually, I was really delighted as it was a recording I'd put a great deal into," he replied. "You always hope people will respond to what you put there, so it's great to have such recognition." Osborne, who has strong views on many things, is adamant in his view of Mussorgsky's evergreen piano classic. "I've played it for a long time and feel it's one of the great masterpieces of the piano literature. It is so much more than a virtuoso showpiece. So much of the effect rests in its structure. Pictures is organised in such a simple but effective way, with the recurring Promenade theme a point of reference which draws together the disparate character pieces into a compelling whole. The theme's emergence in the final movement, transformed into a great peal of bells is one of the most satisfying moments in the whole piano literature."
Characteristically, the modest pianist plays down his own role, but what you have in Osborne's recording of Pictures is a performance by a man with a mind and fingers of steel; a man of enormous physical power who knows how to think structurally, and then express that in his performance so that the music, frankly, makes clear sense.
'Twas ever thus with Osborne. The first time I reviewed him playing, he was 16 (he reminded me last week). He and his fellow pianist and school chum, David Horne, were young guests at the St Magnus Festival where they were given a wee slot. They were very different musicians. Horne was piratical and flamboyant. Osborne, a more cool and reserved presence, was a bit more studied, though when he played Beethoven's Waldstein Sonata it was already clear that he had something special. Osborne, now 42, is at the top of his game and at the top of the tree. He is a powerhouse of intelligent pianism with a physical strength you can sense radiating from his playing, and the brainpower to bring all that music off the page, into life and into sense. A great award and a triumph for the pianist. Bravo.