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"I write music to engage an audience, to seduce them sometimes by stealth with something they know, then taking them somewhere they may never have been. I’m a maverick and, like Henry Cowell, want to live in the whole world of music, not just one corner. My works range from the simple vernacular through high classical to the avant-garde. Variety is my oxygen." - Stephen Montague
Stephen Montague is an Anglo/American composer born (10 March, 1943, Syracuse, New York) and educated in the USA (Florida State University, Ohio State University, DMA). Since 1972 he has been living in Europe, first as a Fulbright Scholar in Warsaw (1972-74), then from 1974 in London where he works as a freelance composer, pianist and conductor. His works have been performed worldwide by leading ensembles and soloists including the London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic, BBC Symphony Orchestra, The National Symphony Orchestra (Washington, DC), Südwestfunk Symphony (Baden-Baden), RTE Orchestra Madrid. Solo performers include pianists Stephen Kovacevich, Marc-André Hamelin, Joanna MacGregor, baritone Benjamin Luxon, and percussionist Evelyn Glennie.
Recent commissions include the Birmingham Royal Ballet, BBC Proms, UK New Music Biennale, Calgary Philharmonic (Canada), Royal Festival Hall, the Southbank and Barbican Centres, London.
In addition to writing for conventional ensembles Montague has realised a number of large-scale theatrical events with often hundreds of performers such as directing Musicircuses at the Florida State Fine Arts Museum (USA), The Barbican Centre (London), English National Opera/London Coliseum, Trondheim (Norway), and Centre Pompidou/Metz (France). Other unconventional works include a woodwind quintet for mouthpieces, Horn Concerto for klaxon horn soloist and orchestra of automobiles, and his piano concerto for symphonic brass, percussion and 8 motorcycles for the UK World Superbike Championships, Brands Hatch.
As a conductor Montague specializes in contemporary music and recently conducted the Singapore ReSound Chamber Orchestra, Florida State Philharmonia Orchestra and Chorus, and the Bournemouth Symphony.
Composer Portrait concerts of Montague’s work have taken place in Singapore, London, Cambridge, Aberdeen, Vienna, Budapest, Warsaw, Houston, Hartford, and Chicago.
Southern Lament an NMC recording of his piano & chamber works won the International Piano Award for Best New Piano Music Recording 2006. His works are published by United Music Publishing.
Photo: Kate Mount