“Childress’ elegant self-possession on the podium was reflected in interpretations that bore the stamp of a symphonic mind and consistently favoured musical honesty over sonic effect.” (Mark Valencia / Bachtrack, Nov 2020)
The Franco-British conductor, now in her early twenties, is making her mark as a musician of remarkable skill who has been likened to “other notable young conductors of the past such as Sir John Eliot Gardiner and Sir Simon Rattle” (Varsity). Her musicianship and command of the symphonic and operatic repertoire have already led her to establish herself on both sides of the Atlantic.
In the 2022/23 season she will conclude her time as Assistant Conductor of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and Music Director of the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra. She will also return to conduct the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra, North Carolina Symphony, Orchestre National de Montpellier, as well as make debuts with the Orchestre National d’ Île-de-France, New World Symphony and Konzerthausorchester Berlin.
Following her success as the 2nd prize-winner of ‘La Maestra’ in 2020, she enjoyed a number of engagements with orchestras in France, including l’Orchestre de Paris, Paris Mozart Orchestra, l’Orchestre de Chambre de Paris and l’Orchestre National de Montpellier, as well as being invited to take part in the Conducting Académie of the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence. That same season, Childress made several exciting debuts in the UK with the London Symphony Orchestra (including a concert broadcast on Medici), the Philharmonia, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and London Mozart Players.
Having been inspired to start conducting due to her love of opera, Stephanie most recently made her Glyndebourne Tour debut in autumn 2022 conducting Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, and will return for a production of Don Giovanni in autumn 2023. Previously, she conducted Jeremy Sams’s The Enchanted Island with British Youth Opera, Benjamin Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia at St John’s College (Cambridge), Lennox Berkeley’s A Dinner Engagement for the Cambridge University Opera Society and the world premiere of Anna Semple’s The Next Station is Green Park at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. She is currently one of two conductors in the Académie of the Opéra de Paris.
Stephanie studied music at St. John’s College Cambridge, starting aged 16 after deciding to leave secondary school. Previously a violinist, she rose to prominence as a string finalist in BBC Young Musician of the Year 2016 and 2018, and made her Proms debut in 2019 at the Royal Albert Hall with the Southbank Sinfonia and Jessica Cottis.
Stephanie is passionate about furthering the reach of classical music on both sides of the Atlantic and in 2022 undertook an artistic residency with the Villa Albertine, a network for arts and ideas designed to link France and the United States. A write-up of her experiences will be published in 2023. As of 2022, she is also a participant in the Franco-British Young Leaders’ Program, a scheme created by the Franco-British Council to further cooperation across both sides of the Channel. She is an active supporter of the Tri-borough Music Hub, an award-winning organisation for music education and has taken part in a number of programmes with the association, including leading the junior string ensemble at an ‘Artists for Inclusivity’ event and speaking at the Youth Music Conference 2020 held at the Royal College of Music. She was on adjudicating panels for the 2019 RPS Awards (Storytelling Category) and the Ivor Novello Awards (Orchestral Category).
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.”
– Beethoven Ninth Symphony review November 2017. Read Full Varsity Review
“No infantilizing descriptor such as ‘prodigy’ properly captures Childress’ outsized talent. ”
– Schumann’s Symphony no. 3 review March 2023. Read Full KDHX Review