Stephanie Childress is a conductor and violinist who is distinguishing herself as one of the most interesting and versatile musicians of her age. Born in London to a non-musical family, she started reading Music at St John’s College, University of Cambridge at the age of 16. Having recently graduated, she has since assisted on British Youth Opera’s The Enchanted Island (September 2018), made her conducting and soloist debut with the Southbank Sinfonia in a programme of Respighi and Piazzolla.(April 2018) and conducted the Chineke! Junior Orchestra at the Queen Elizabeth Hall for the United Kingdom’s first official Stephen Lawrence Memorial Day (April 2019).
Whilst at university, Stephanie conducted performances of Benjamin Britten’s opera The Rape of Lucretia and his song cycle, Les Illuminations at St John’s College, followed by Lennox Berkeley’s opera, A Dinner Engagement for the Cambridge University Opera Society. In her final year, she conducted Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in St John’s College Chapel, and made her debut with the Cambridge University Sinfonia as their conducting scholar in November 2018, alongside pianist Andreas Wildner.
Stephanie has participated in masterclasses with Sir Mark Elder, Sian Edwards, Neil Thompson, Nicolas Pasquet, Colin Metters and Martyn Brabbins with the BBC NOW. In August 2018, Stephanie was chosen to participate in the Royal Philharmonic Society’s first ‘Women Conducting Opera’ masterclass, held at the National Opera Studio. This summer, she will be studying at the Järvi Academy and will participate in the Aurora Masterclass (Trollhättan) led by Jukka-Pekka Saraste.
Recent engagements have included a project conducting Béla Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestrawith the Guildhall Artistry Students alongside members of the LSO, and a performance of Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem with her own ensemble, Orchestra Rheia. Stephanie will be working as assistant conductor to Alexander Joel at the English National Opera for a production of Verdi’s Luisa Miller, and making her debut with the Dresdner Philharmonie in June 2020.
“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.” Operissima (February 2018)
As a violinist, Stephanie was awarded the Candide Award at the LSO String Academy in 2014. She led the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain in 2015, and as part of their summer concert series play-directed the premiere of Tansy Davies’ Re-Greening. She also led the Balsom Ensemble, a group of professional baroque players, for trumpeter Alison Balsom’s tour of Germany in December 2016.
In 2016, Stephanie was a finalist in the String Category of the Royal Over-Seas League Competition and a Category Finalist in both the 2016 and 2018 BBC Young Musician of the Year Competition. In April 2017, she attended the IMS Masterclass in Prussia Cove under the tutelage of Andras Keller. Her recent concerto appearances have included Bruch’s Violin Concerto no.1 conducted by Ben Gernon, and Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto conducted by Howard Williams. In August 2019, she will make her debut as a solo violinist at the BBC Proms in ‘The Lost Words’ with the Southbank Sinfonia under the baton of Jessica Cottis.
Stephanie currently studies the violin with Pieter Schoeman, the leader of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and plays on an Italian violin made by Francesco Gobetti, Venice c. 1710.
Selected Review Extracts
“Stephanie Childress, was both the conductor and the concert’s stand out performer. From the moment she entered the Chapel she commanded the orchestra with such poise and energy that it was truly impossible to believe she was only eighteen years of age. In a video played before the concert, St John’s’ Director of Music commented on some of the notable young conductors of the past, such as Sir John Eliot Gardiner and Sir Simon Rattle. Perhaps such heights too lie in wait for Childress, who successfully tackled what she described in her Twitter feed as “the gargantuan mass of music” that is Beethoven’s 9th symphony.”
– Beethoven Ninth Symphony review November 2017. Read Full Varsity Review
“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.”
– Gilbert & Sullivan’s Ruddigore review February 2018. Read Full Operissima Review