Stephen has been playing music on the violin since the age of 7, composing since he was 14, and playing and performing on the guitar since he was 18, performing with some of the major new music groups in the New York area. He studied music at Columbia University, where he received a doctorate in composition. Instrumental studies include guitar and lute with Pat O’Brien and Ed Flowers, violin with Beatrice Giffin, Margaret Ziemnicka and Keita Fukushima, and guqin (a classical Chinese instrument) with Yuan Jungping. His grants and awards include the Fulbright Research Grant, the Joseph Bearns Prize and a BMI Young Composers Award and grants have come from organizations including the school of oriental and african music, meet the composer, the American music center, the national endowment for the arts, weir farm, soaring gardens, and the Composers’ Conference. He's had performances of over a hundred pieces, with works performed frequently in the US, Europe and Asia. The range goes from solo to chamber to orchestral works, often including electronic elements.
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“I have taught music for over 25 years, in universities, music schools and privately. One thing that I have noticed is that, with more experience, I have a lot more fun-- and so do my students. I cover a wide range, from bluegrass to concert classical. The correct technique is, in my experience, the one that will be able to underlay any musical style. Most importantly, the student should be able to play with musical expression. What are my students looking for in music? That's an ongoing question in every case, and the exploration of that is a joyful journey; music without joy is not music."
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