Acclaimed as ‘one of the most talented young musicians to emerge from the UK’ by the Frankfurter Neue Press, Stephen Beville made his ‘concerto debut’ while still at school, and has gone on to perform with orchestras such as the Baden -Philharmonie.
From 1989- 1994, Stephen attended the Royal Academy of Music (Junior Academy) learning composition, piano and conducting. Having won a Yamaha scholarship, he read Music at the Universities of York and Huddersfield. During this time he studied the piano privately with Peter Katin. He graduated in 1998 with First Class Honours and was awarded the Wilfrid Mellers prize and Rodwell prize.
Stephen continued his studies with Benjamin Frith at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. He was awarded the Postgraduate Diploma and Mmus in Performance with Composition, as well as the Professional Performance Diploma with Distinction – the highest accolade of the RNCM. He is the winner of RNCM scholarships for piano and composition and the recipient of the Lucy Pierce Award. He has performed with the RNCM Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra and New Ensemble in a range of music, not least his own work.
In 2001, Stephen won a DAAD scholarship to study at the Staadt Hochschule fur Musik in Karlsurhe, Germany; piano with Fany Solter and composition with Wolfgang Rihm. There he obtained two Konzertexamens for performance and composition with highest marks. In addition, he received a scholarship from the Heinrich Strobel Foundation (Freiburg) to support his studies, where he explored possibilities of live instrumental performance with electronic resources available at the computer studio. This resulted in compositions with piano such as The Echoing Sky, Three Michelangelo Pieces and Fashionism – Scenes of Youth for electric guitar, piano, percussion and electronics. All have been performed to critical acclaim – the first piece in collaboration with the Badische Konservatorium to mark 400 years of keyboard music.
Stephen’s music has been performed in such venues as the RAM, British Information Centre, The Barbican, Kings College (London) the RNCM (Manchester), the ZKM (Centre for Arts and Media), HFG, the Insel Theatre (Karlsruhe), BKA Theatre (Berlin) – and under such conductors as Martyn Brabbins and Andre de Ridder. The early Chamber Concerto was premiered by the Manson Ensemble, before being selected by the Society for Promotion of New Music for professional performance by Music-Projects, London. Other works that have been short listed by the SPNM include the Ballade for Eight Players , Purgatory Pieces for string quartet, and Epicycle for chamber orchestra. Epicycle was first performed by the RNCM New Ensemble in 2000 before being revised for its German premiere by the Badische Staadtskapelle in 2004. Recent works include the Grand Partita for Speaker and Orchestra. In 2011, a first volume of his music was published by the Berlin based music publishers, Simon-Verlag fur Bibliothekwissen.
As soloist, Stephen has given recitals throughout Britain and Germany, his performances receiving outstanding reviews. He has participated in international festivals such as the Huddersfield Contemporary Music festival, the RNCM ‘Glories of the Keyboard’ and ‘American Reflections’ festivals, the ‘KlangRiffe’ festival of New Music (ZKM, Karlsurhe) and the London New Wind festival. He has made recordings and given interviews for SWR (South West German Radio).
“I was very impressed … especially by his insight into the Schumann Fantasie and the Beethoven Op. 111” – Peter Katin, concert pianist
“The question how such an intellectual artist would play Schumann was revealed in the Fantasie, Op 17… The answer was to be found in a knowing between Intellect and Emotion. From a clearly realized structure but never with harsh touch, the melody bloomed, the rhythm was precise and the dynamics were very carefully realized. Stephen Beville’s extraordinary subjective interpretation left a deep impression.” – Badische Neue Nachrichten on the concert recorded on dda25108
“The solo CDs are really phantastically played, super Beethoven, very intelligent and radical, bravissimo!” – Quintessenz music agency, Munich.
See a tribute by Stephen Beville to his late teacher Peter Katin here