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 was the assistant conductor on British Youth Opera’s The Enchanted Island and made her conducting and soloist debut with the Southbank Sinfonia in April 2018, in a programme of Respighi and Piazzolla.
Whilst at university, she conducted performances of 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 the 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.
She 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.
“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 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 2017, she was appointed as the artistic director of the tenth Young Virtuosi Summer Classical Music Festival.
As a violinist Stephanie 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. 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.
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.
“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.”
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