About

Stephen Bryant has an established reputation as a leader, soloist and chamber musician. Born in Croydon, Stephen began playing the piano at 5 years old and the violin a year later.


He won an Open Scholarship to the Royal College of Music to study with Kenneth Piper and later with Hugh Bean – both pupils of the great English violinist Albert Sammons. Whilst there he won every violin prize open to him including the Medal of the Worshipful Company of Musicians, a Leverhulme Scholarship, Craxton Trust Award, Philharmonia Trust Award and first prize in The Royal Overseas League Competition. After completing a postgraduate year of study at the RCM and continuing his studies further with David Takeno he was appointed sub-leader then co-leader of the London Philharmonic a position he held until he took up his present post as leader of the BBC Symphony Orchestra.


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In addition to this role Stephen is in great demand as a guest leader. He has led most British orchestras including the London Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Opera House (Covent Garden) and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Abroad, orchestras have included the Hong Kong Philharmonic, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Hague Residentie Orchestra, National Arts Centre of Ottawa and Westdeutscher Rundfunk Koln. Stephen has also been a guest leader of the English Chamber Orchestra and Scottish Chamber Orchestra and has a duo partnership with the pianist Nigel Clayton. As Concertmaster, Stephen has worked with some of the world’s finest conductors including such names as Jiri Belohlavek, Pierre Boulez, Bernard Haitink, Mariss Jansons, Witold Lutoslawski, Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti, Sir George Solti, Maxim Shostakovich, Evgeny Svetlanov and Klaus Tennstedt.


As a soloist Stephen appears regularly with the BBCSO often performing unusual repertoire including concertos by Delius, Goldmark, Korngold, Mendelssohn and Khataturian. Other works have included Benjamin Romantic Phantasy for Violin and Viola, Dvorak Romance, Lutoslawski Partita and Waxman Tristan and Isolde Fantasy. Conductors with whom he has collaborated on these ventures include Leonard Slatkin, Manfred Honeck, Andrew Litton, Vernon  Handley and  Martyn Babbins. He has premiered a number of works including the first British performance of Korngold’s Violin Concerto and the world premiere of Elgar’s ‘Etudes Characteristiques’.


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Stephen has taken part in well over a hundred commercial recordings as leader of BBC Symphony Orchestra and other major orchestras and has made numerous recordings and broadcasts as a soloist and chamber player. In 2004 he performed Tristan and Isolde Fantasy by Waxman and Rozsa’s Sinfonia Concertante for Violin and Cello for a television documentary about Hollywood composers with Leonard Slatkin and the BBC Symphony Orchestra.


Away from performing he appears regularly on the panel for a number of competitions including BBC’s Young Musician of the Year and greatly enjoys teaching and coaching at the Royal College of Music, Royal Academy of Music and various chamber music courses. Stephen’s experience means that he is in demand as an orchestral coach – passing on his knowledge and expertise to a new generation of violinists and orchestral musicians.


Stephen is a keen gardener – taking pride in his exotic fern collection and how green his lawn is! He enjoys swimming and running and watching football and cricket. He has recently taken up painting and has three British Shorthair cats – Effie, Dolly and Malcolm who take up the rest of his time and money!