Stephanie Childress is a violinist and conductor who has started distinguishing herself as one of the most interesting and versatile musicians of her age. Born in London to a non-musical family, her first musical recollections consisted of Doris Day and Queen before classical music. However she became enthralled with the violin after hearing Vivaldi’s Four seasons and decided to start the piano at the age of 5 before continuing onto the violin at the age of 6. She attended the lycée français Charles de Gaulle in London from 2003 to 2014 and the Royal College of Music Junior Department from 2008 to 2015 where she studied violin, piano, voice and was Leader of both the RCMJD Symphony Orchestra and the Chamber Orchestra. In October 2015, at the age of 16, she started as an undergraduate reading Music at St John’s College, University of Cambridge where she currently leads the Cambridge University Chamber Orchestra during its 2015/2016 season. She has performed extensively as a soloist and chamber musician in such venues as Saddler’s Wells, the Elgar Room and Wigmore Hall. Since 2008 she has attended the annual Young Virtuosi Festival in France both as a soloist and as a chamber musician. Among many prizes, Stephanie won the Hugh Bean Competition and the Marjorie Humby Competition at the Royal College of Music where she was also awarded the Constance Farringdon Prize, the Esther Coleman Prize, the Freda Dinn and Ida Mabbett Prize as well as the Chamber Music prize with her chamber ensemble, the Stepanovich Piano Trio. She was a prize-winner at the Sevenoaks Young Musician of the Year and the Abingdon Concerto Competition in 2014. In July 2014, members of the LSO awarded her the LSO String Academy Candide Award for Outstanding Performance. She won the Duke of Devonshire Award at the Eastbourne Symphony Orchestra Young Soloist Competition in 2015. Stephanie is currently a recipient of the Martin Music Scholarship Fund/Sidney Perry Award. In 2016 she was a finalist in the String Category of the Royal Over-Seas League Competition and is a Category Finalist in the 2016 BBC Young Musician of the Year Competition which will be broadcasted on BBC 4 as well as on BBC 3 Radio. Stephanie currently studies the violin with Pieter Schoeman, Leader of the London Philharmonic Orchestra and plays on an Italian violin made by Francesco Gobetti, Venice c 1710 As well as being a soloist, Stephanie is a highly accomplished orchestral musician. Stephanie was Concert Master of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain in 2015, having been co-leader in 2014. She had joined the orchestra a year earlier, aged 13. With the NYO Stephanie had the chance to perform in England’s most distinguished concert halls such as the Barbican, the Royal Festival Hall, The Sage Gateshead, Symphony Hall Birmingham, Leeds Town Hall and at Snape Maltings. For the NYOGB 2015 Summer Concert Series, she led the NYO for the premiere of a conductorless modern work, Re-Greening, composed by Tansy Davies. This was then followed by the epic Mahler 9 conducted by Sir Mark Elder, and culminated in concerts at the BBC Proms and Konzerthaus Berlin. Previously she had co-lead the Discover Dudamel Orchestra in London in March 2013 where she also assisted conducting in some of the rehearsals and in 2014, she was appointed as leader of the Barbican Youth Orchestra, conducted by Edward Gardner. In 2013 she led and coached the Orchestra of the National Youth Music Theatre for its production of West Side Story, where she worked with Music Director Tom Deering. She is an NYMT Youth Ambassador and will be the new Assistant Music Director for the 2016 production of Brass. It is her love of opera which first stemmed Stephanie’s interest in conducting. “I distinctly remember watching rehearsals for Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier at the ENO when I was 12 or 13 and being completely enthralled by everything that was going on. The score was unlike anything I had ever heard before and the interweaving vocal lines of the final trio completely blew me away. I think the possibility of conducting opera as well as the symphonic repertoire made me realise that I had to conduct.” She also had the opportunity of shadowing the Music Staff at the Royal Opera House for the 2013 productions of Gloriana, Simon Boccanegra, Parsifal and Elektra as part of her work experience. She is busy learning scores at every opportunity whilst attending as many Master classes as time allows. Her first Conducting Workshop was in 2012 at the London Master Classes led by Maestro Benjamin Zander. She subsequently attended Conducting Workshops in Venice and Paris led by Neil Thomson and John Farrer. Stephanie is currently a private student of Neil Thomson.
Clarity, and in particular unity, also flows from the orchestra under the baton of Stephanie Childress, a seriously exciting (and unnervingly young) talent who conjures a lithe, supple and above all united sound from her instrumentalists, full of atmosphere, drama and poise. Childress’ command of her orchestra brings verve, bite and gravity to the score’s darker moments, while exulting merrily in its racier passages, and the sheer musicality of this production is another of its strengths.
“Could the orchestra’s poised leader, Stephanie Childress, really be only 15?”
“One had to marvel at the leader Stephanie Childress’s delicately eloquent solos”
“No matter what the competition outcome, it’s safe to say that tonight a new classical music star was born.” Clemency Burton-Hill