Stephen Threlfall’s current role as Director of Music at Chetham’s School of Music, the UK’s leading music school, is a happy culmination of many years’ experience in the professional music world. An alumnus of the Royal Northern College of Music, Stephen’s career took him first to the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, where he was Sub-Principal Cello, before becoming Director of Music at Benenden School. At the same time, his reputation as a conductor and educator was growing rapidly.
As a conductor, Stephen has earned much acclaim for his performances, recordings and broadcasts. He has conducted at many major venues and festivals in the UK and with many international solo artists. Engagements have taken him to the USA, Europe and Scandinavia, with regular visits to the Urals Philharmonic and Bach Orchestras in Yekaterinburg, the Royal Oman Symphony and Amman Symphony Orchestras. Other ensembles include Leeds Festival, Chester Bach and Manchester Chamber Choirs; the Northern Ballet and Northern Chamber Orchestra, Manchester Camerata and the BBC Philharmonic. He has conducted a number of concert broadcasts for the BBC, Classic FM and Russian national Radio and TV, and his repertoire includes many world premieres, notably High on the Slopes of Terror by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. Stephen made his Royal Festival Hall debut in February 2012 in an all Rachmaninov programme.
Stephen combines a natural sense for performance with his creative vision to inspire the artistic direction and programming of concerts, festivals and educational events. He has a passion for working with young people and has enjoyed successful collaborations with many student and youth orchestras both at home and abroad.
He has created and directed a number of arts and community projects involving an impressive number of guest musicians, artists and specialists. In autumn 2008, the Leonard Bernstein Celebration included chamber and symphonic concerts. In autumn 2012, Stephen directed a 4-day celebration to mark the
150th anniversary of Frederick Delius. In 2013 Stephen devised a major project marking the centenary of Benjamin Britten. The ‘Russian October’ project marking the centenary of the 1917 Revolution took place around Manchester in the autumn of 2017.
Stephen has collaborated with an array of outstanding classical artists, and with a number of actors and entertainers including Timothy West and Prunella Scales, Robbie Coltrane, Vanessa Redgrave, Bridget Forsyth, Hinge and Bracket, Ted Robbins, Emily Watson, Russell Grant and Celia Imrie.
Stephen’s performances of Mahler’s Third Symphony in July 2015 with the mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly and the Chetham’s Symphony Orchestra were both highly praised. Recent performances include conducting the Transylvania State Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus, concerts in Melbourne, Australia, and a return visit to Russia, Oman and the USA planned for 2018. He also devised the celebratory opening weekend of concerts and events to mark the opening of The Stoller Hall at Chetham’s School of Music in April 2017 which received a 5-star review.