Stephanie Childress makes her conducting debut with the Portuguese Academic Philharmonic Orchestra this season with concerts in Spain and Portugal. Conducting a programme of Britten and Beethoven, she also play/directs Mozart’s Violin Concerto No.4. She will make her debut with the orchestra of Opera North in the same programme at the Ryedale festival this summer, and with the Dresdner Philharmonie conducting Sibelius’ Symphony No.2 for a family concert in June 2020. She is also conducting a number of concerts this season with the London Lawyers’ Symphony Orchestra as their Principal Conductor.
Stephanie started reading Music at the University of Cambridge aged 16, later graduating with a BA (Hons). Her conducting highlights last season included concerts with the Chineke! Junior Orchestra, a programme of Prokofiev and Brahms with the Cambridge University Sinfonia, and a programme of Respighi and Piazzolla with the Southbank Sinfonia. In May 2019 she led a repertoire session conducting Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra with the London Symphony Orchestra and students from the Guildhall School of Music, and made a celebrated debut with her new ensemble, Orchestra Rheia, in a performance of Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem. She also conducted a performance of Beethoven’s Symphony no. 9 in the Chapel of St John’s College (Cambridge).
“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)
Alongside her conducting engagements she continues to assist a number of prominent conductors including Alexander Joel on Verdi’s Luisa Miller at the English National Opera, and Susanna Malkki with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
She has participated in conducting masterclasses with Sir Mark Elder, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Paavo Järvi, Neeme Järvi, Sian Edwards, Neil Thompson, Nicolas Pasquet, Colin Metters and Martyn Brabbins. This summer she will attend the highly regarded Aspen Conducting Academy. Stephanie is also one of the participants of the inaugural Maestra Conducting Competition, held in Paris in March 2020.
She has already conducted a number of operatic productions including Jeremy Sams’ The Enchanted Island with the British Youth Opera, Benjamin Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia at St John’s College (Cambridge), as well as Lennox Berkeley’s A Dinner Engagement for the Cambridge University Opera Society. Last season she conducted the world premiere of Anna Semple’s opera The Next Station in Green Park at the Royal Scottish Conservatoire.
Stephanie came to prominence as a violinist through the 2016 and 2018 BBC Young Musician of the Year Competition, being a Category Finalist both years. Continuing a strong relationship with the BBC, Stephanie play/directed Vivaldi’s ‘Winter’ Concerto with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra for the 2019 BBC Ten Pieces Trailblazers, as well as featuring in their 2019 Proms Launch Video. The same year Stephanie made her BBC Proms debut at the Royal Albert Hall as part of the Lost Words Prom with the Southbank Sinfonia and Jessica Cottis, later travelling to Glasgow to perform with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra at Proms in the Park Scotland.
In January 2020 Stephanie made her solo debut with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra performing Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending under the baton of Vasily Petrenko.
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