Stephen Preston

Role

Professorial Staff - Baroque and Classical Flute

Contact details

Address: Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, Faculty of Music, King Charles Court, Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, London, SE10 9JF

Email: [email protected]

Phone One: +44 (0)20 8305 4444

Biography

Dr Stephen Preston is one of the outstanding musicians in the development of early music performance in Europe and one of its most respected figures. As a flautist he specializes in repertoire from the Baroque period up to the nineteenth century. Preston began his career on modern flute while still a student at the Guildhall School, performing with his own new music ensemble, and in a trio with harpsichordist Trevor Pinnock and cellist Tony Pleeth and this provided the essential role in the creation and development of the leading British period instrument ensembles and orchestras. During his illustrious career as both soloist and chamber musician he has performed to critical acclaim at the most prestigious festivals, music series and concert venues throughout Europe and the Far East.

In recent years Stephen has been exploring the baroque flute as a 21st century instrument. He is researching new techniques and improvisational forms based on the sounds, forms and structures of birdsong. Out of this research he is developing a new musical and improvisational language which he calls ecosonics. He has made several highly successful tours of America performing his new music, plus contemporary and historical repertoire, in his duo with baroque flutist Amara Guitry. Their ecosonic duetting improvisations have aroused great interest and enthusiasm everywhere they have performed. He is now working on developing an improvisation ensemble with electro-acoustic composer and cellist, Thomas Gardner. Ecosonic techniques were used by the composer Edward Cowie in The Soft Complaining Flute, a work written for Stephen Preston and 6 sopranos and commissioned by the BBC Singers.

In parallel with his musical career Stephen has also been deeply involved with historical dance. He has founded and directed two dance companies, the second of which explored the relationship between contemporary and historical performance practice. He has received high praise in the UK and Europe for his choreography both for his own companies and for opera by composers such as Purcell, Rameau, Gluck, Mozart and Rossini.

Qualifications / Educational Background

Guildhall School of Music and Drama

Teaching Experience

Stephen is much in demand as a teacher in the UK and gives regular master classes in America. His teaching is based on linking the insights of performance practice to the necessity of fulfilling the creative personality and developing musical potential to its maximum. In lecturing, teaching and master classes worldwide Preston has shared his insights and abilities not just with new generations of flautists, professional colleagues and early music specialists but with a wide variety of musicians. He has a much valued, creative association with one of America's leading chamber groups - the New Century Saxophone Quartet - and recently worked with the NCSQ on their acclaimed recording of Bach's Art of Fugue.

Creative Outputs

His extensive recordings encompass most of the major solo works of the baroque flute repertoire, and a wide cross-section of chamber and orchestral works, including the concertos of Vivaldi and CPE Bach. Preston's recording of the complete Bach sonatas has been acclaimed as the "clear first choice for this repertoire".

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