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Stephen Upshaw joins Lucerne Festival Academy

Tue 12 December 2023

TL Viola professor, Stephen Upshaw, has been appointed as the Viola Faculty Teaching Artist at Switzerland’s Lucerne Festival Academy.

TL Viola professor and highly acclaimed violist Stephen Upshaw has recently joined the teaching faculty at the Lucerne Festival Academy. Regularly performing in a vibrant range of festivals worldwide – including the BBC Proms, Aldeburgh, Huddersfield, Aix-en-Provence, Wien Modern, Glastonbury, and Lucerne – Stephen’s performance has been described as “astonishingly powerful: full-on, self-assured, as well as searingly expressive”. A highly sought-after chamber musician, Stephen is a member of the award-winning Solem Quartet, praised for their “immaculate precision and spirit” (The Strad) and recognised as one of the most innovative and adventurous quartets of its generation. He has shared the stage with celebrated artists such as Tai Murray, Gary Hoffman, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Philippe Graffin, Jennifer Stumm and Garth Knox. Recent engagements have taken him to Boston’s Jordan Hall, London’s Barbican and Wigmore Halls, Tokyo Opera City, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall and Vienna’s Konzerthaus.

A noted interpreter of contemporary music, Stephen is also a member of London’s Riot Ensemble, winners of the Ernst von Siemens Foundation Ensemble Prize, whose disc Speak Be Silent was selected as one of New Yorker Magazine’s ‘Best Recordings of 2019’. He has taken part in over 300 world premieres including chamber music of Georg Haas, Sally Beamish (alongside the composer), Edmund Finnis and solo works of Mark Simpson, Simon Holt, Michael Finnissy and Errollyn Wallen. Stephen has also toured regularly to the USA, Europe and Asia with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields and its music director, Joshua Bell and works with the Chineke! Orchestra as principal viola and as a member of the chamber players.

One of Europe’s most prestigious summer academies, the Lucerne Festival Academy is a school for new music and a creative laboratory for the future. Every summer, 100 talented young musicians from all over the world are given the opportunity to concentrate on a repertoire that is still too often overlooked in the world of classical music: the music of the 20th and 21st centuries. Through daily rehearsals and workshops over a three-week period, musicians immerse themselves in key selected works of Modernism; they work on and rehearse brand-new scores that are often written especially for the Academy and experiment with innovative forms of performance.

Conductors and composers also benefit from the Academy’s training through the Conducting Fellowship, where young conductors observe and follow along during the Academy’s rehearsal work, while gaining important experiences through masterclasses. The Composer Seminar gives young composers an opportunity to discuss their works with the celebrated Wolfgang Rihm and other composers. They can also test out these works with musicians from the ranks of the Lucerne Festival Academy. The Roche Young Commissions series gives young composers commissions to write new works.

Applications for the Lucerne Festival Academy are now open until 18 February 2024. Full details are available here.