Steve is a world-renowned composer and guitarist, and is Director of the International Guitar Research Centre
Steve is Professor of Composition and Director of the International Guitar Research Centre at the University of Surrey, and a Professor of Guitar at the Royal Academy of Music. He also taught musicianship and composition at the Yehudi Menuhin School. He studied composition and guitar at the Royal Academy of Music and the Universities of Bristol and London.
Steve is in much demand as a composer, teacher, and research supervisor, and he gives regular masterclasses in Europe, North and South America, Australia, and China. His music receives hundreds of performances worldwide each year. It has been recorded on over 90 CDs by more than a dozen record labels, including EMI, Decca, Virgin Classics, Naxos, and Deutsche Grammophon. He is considered ‘one of the guitar’s finest living composers’ (International Record Review).
His compositional voice is shaped by his parallel career as a guitarist – as a performer, transcriber, arranger, improviser and collaborator with other composers and performers. Not surprisingly, his music often tests the boundaries between all these activities and original composition. Steve brings a broad-based approach to his teaching and encourages students to develop their general musicianship skills including improvisation and composition.
As a guitarist, Steve has worked with many leading composers (such as Tōru Takemitsu, Hans Werner Henze, Peter Maxwell Davies, and Elliott Carter) and toured and recorded extensively with the Tetra Guitar Quartet and other ensembles.
Recent composition work includes several projects with the guitarist John Williams, who has recorded and toured Steve’s Guitar Concerto with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Steve’s music has been performed by many of the world’s leading orchestras including: The Russian National Orchestra (under Mikhail Pletnev), The China National Symphony Orchestra, The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, The State Symphony Orchestra ‘New Russia’, The RTE National Symphony Orchestra, The Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra, the BBC NOW, and the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra.
Steve’s concertos include his Piano Concerto for Emanuel Despax (Signum Classics, 2013), his Albéniz Concerto for Xuefei Yang (EMI Classics 2010), and the first ever Theorbo Concerto, commissioned by Arts Council England for Matthew Wadsworth and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra (Deux-Elles, 2019).
Other commissions have come from: percussionist Evelyn Glennie, cellist Natalie Clein, flutist William Bennett, and tenor Ian Bostridge, and guitarists David Russell, Zoran Dukić, Miloš Karadaglić, and Aniello Desiderio. Steve’s eclectic approach has led to collaborations with artists as diverse as Andrew Lloyd Webber, Alt-J, and Avi Avital.