“What struck me most was solo viola player Stephen Upshaw. By tradition, viola players are retiring types. But if I ever saw a serious exception to that rule, it’s Stephen. [His] execution was astonishingly powerful: full-on, self-assured, as well as searingly expressive. Supercharged viola players used to be an oxymoron but they aren’t now.” – Michael White

Always in search of new musical horizons, violist Stephen Upshaw is emerging as a creative force on the international music scene.

Since making his concerto debut at 17, he has won several competitions and played in festivals around the world including IMS Prussia Cove, Lucerne, Brighton, Huddersfield, Aix-en-Provence, Wien Modern, Oxford Chamber Music, Musica Nova (Finland), SPOR (Denmark) and the Salzburg Chamber Music Festival alongside artists such as Gary Hoffman, Philippe Graffin, Jennifer Stumm and the JACK Quartet. In recent seasons, recital and chamber music engagements have brought him to Boston’s Jordan Hall, London’s Barbican Hall, Wigmore Hall and Royal Opera House, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall and Vienna’s Konzerthaus.

A noted interpreter of contemporary music, Stephen recently performed Feldman’s complete “The Viola in My Life” at London’s Cafe Oto and has given numerous national and international premieres with groups such as Ensemble Modern, Klangforum Wien, Ensemble Proton (Switzerland) the Harvard Group for New Music, Le Balcon (Paris), Aurora Orchestra and Rambert Orchestra (London), and the Bodø Sinfonietta (Norway), working closely with composers such as John Adams, Heinz Holliger, Julian Anderson, George Benjamin, Christian Wolff and Michael Finnissy, who recently composed a new solo piece for Stephen. He was also recently invited to join London’s acclaimed Riot Ensemble as violist and artistic board member.

A passionate chamber musician, Stephen has toured the USA, Europe and Asia with the Academy of Saint Martin in the Fields and its music director, Joshua Bell, having also collaborated with the London and Irish Chamber Orchestras. Chamber Music mentors include, among others, Paul Katz, Ferenc Rados, Alasdair Tait and members of the Takacs, Belcea, Endellion, Arditti and Borromeo Quartets. He was formerly a member of the London-based Geminiani Quartet, who earned first prize in the Alexander and Buono International String Competition and won the ISA prize (Austria) for their interpretation of music of the Second Viennese School.

Additionally, Stephen has a strong interest in synthesizing music with other fields and has helped realize collaborative projects with the Boston Architectural College, Transport Theatre Company, Rambert Dance Company and Parasol Unit Art Space. He is also the artistic director of “Sounding Motion” – a new company exploring the relationship between live contemporary chamber music and dance. Recognized for his work in this area, Stephen was recently invited to give  presentations/ masterclasses at the New England Conservatory and Auburn University on the topic of entrepreneurial musicianship and interdisciplinary collaboration.

A native of Atlanta, he studied with Dr. Marilyn Seelman before earning a BMus(Hon) from the New England Conservatory in Boston where he studied with Carol Rodland and Martha Strongin-Katz. Additionally, he has appeared in masterclasses with Thomas Riebl, Andras Keller, Kim Kashkashian, Pinchas Zukerman and Nobuko Imai.

Stephen completed his Postgraduate studies in the class of David Takeno at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where he was elected a Junior Fellow, and is grateful for support from the Guildhall School Trust, Help Musicians UK, the Albert Cooper Memorial Trust and the Nicholas Boas Charitable Trust.

For the 2016/2017 season, Stephen has been awarded a Fellowship from Trinity Laban College of Music and Dance.

Stephen plays a 1715 Daniel Parker school viola currently made available to him by Nigel Brown and the Stradivari Trust.

For further information, please contact Liz Webb Management.