Stephanie Childress is a violinist and conductor who is distinguishing herself as one of the most interesting and versatile musicians of her age. Born in London, her first musical recollections consisted of Doris Day and Queen. However, she became enthralled with the violin after hearing Vivaldi’s Four seasons. She started learning 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 and the Royal College of Music Junior Department where she studied violin, piano and voice until 2015. She led both the RCMJD Symphony Orchestra and 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, graduating in 2018.
“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.”
She has performed extensively as a soloist and chamber musician in such venues as Sadler’s Wells, the Elgar Room at the Royal Albert Hall and Wigmore Hall. She was a prize-winner at the Sevenoaks Young Musician of the Year and the Abingdon Concerto Competition and was awarded the LSO String Academy Candide Award for Outstanding Performance. In April 2017 Stephanie attended the IMS Masterclass in Prussia Cove under the tutelage of Andras Keller. 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.
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. With the NYO Stephanie had the chance to perform in England’s most distinguished concert halls such as the Barbican, the Royal Festival Hall, Birmingham Symphony Hall, The Sage in Newcastle, Leeds Town Hall and at Snape Maltings. For the NYOGB 2015 Summer Concert Series, she led the NYO for the premiere of a conductor-less modern work, Re-Greening, composed by Tansy Davies. This was then followed by Mahler’s epic Ninth Symphony conducted by Sir Mark Elder. More recently, she led the Balsom Ensemble, a group of professional baroque players, for trumpeter Alison Balsom’s tour of Germany in December 2016. In 2017, she was appointed as the artistic director of the tenth Young Virtuosi Summer Classical Music Festival.
“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.”
As well as being involved in classical music, Stephanie has long been involved in musical theatre. She was the National Youth Music Theatre’s youth ambassador, and assistant musical director for their 2016 production of Brass.
It is her love of theatre and opera which which led Stephanie to conduct. She 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. In 2017 she conducted Benjamin Britten’s opera The Rape of Lucretia and his song cycle, Les Illuminations, at St. John’s College Cambridge, followed by Lennox Berkeley’s opera, A Dinner Engagement for the Cambridge University Opera Society. She recently conducted Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in the St John’s College Chapel as well as the Cambridge University Gilbert and Sullivan Society’s 2018 production of Ruddigore at the West Road Concert Hall.
Future engagements include her conducting debut with the Southbank Sinfonia in April 2018 as well as Bizet’s Carmen and the first Adès Festival in Cambridge.
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