Dr. Stephen Preston

18th-20th Century Repertoire Traverso & Modern Flute Masterclass


Dr. Stephen PrestonDr. Stephen Preston is one of the leading musicians in the development of early music performance in the UK and Europe, and one of its most respected figures. Through his ground-breaking work with historical flutes and solo, ensemble, and orchestral performances and recordings, he has established a worldwide reputation and an international career.

As well as playing period music Stephen is also performing and developing new music and contemporary techniques for the baroque flute and a newly developed, 21st century one-keyed flute by the maker Jean-François Beaudin. This year he formed Trio Aporia, a group dedicated to creating a completely new repertoire for flute, viola da gamba, and harpsichord.  He also performs with the electroacoustic improvisation ensemble Automatic Writing Circle, which evolved from his Ecosonic Ensemble in collaboration with electroacoustic composer Thomas Gardner. He has developed an approach to improvisation and performance inspired by birdsong, which he calls 'Ecosonics' and was described as 'a genius' after a recent broadcast in which he played the world premiere of a work specially written for him.

The emphasis of Preston's work is always on performance practice as a way of realizing the highest degree of musical potential in the performer. His work as a choreographer of historical dance gives him a unique insight into the dance music of the Baroque and Classical periods. He has many years of experience working with the widest range of students and professional instrumentalists and singers. Stephen Preston's teaching philosophy extends beyond the narrow boundaries of stylistic performance and he is equally successful whether working with period performers or with modern instrumentalists and singers. His favorite project has been to work with one of America's most eminent chamber ensembles, the New Century Saxophone Quartet, on their highly praised recording of Bach's Art of Fugue.

In 2006 the National Flute Association honored Dr Preston with a Lifetime Achievement Award. References to Preston can be found in the New Grove Dictionary of Music, J. Solum's The Early Flute, and A. Powell's The Flute. Dr Preston teaches in the UK at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester and at Trinity College of Music, London. He is widely in demand for master classes and for private teaching and coaching. In 2017 Stephen moved to Ayrshire, Scotland. Visit Stephen's website at http://www.stephenpreston-ecosonics.com.

In addition to teaching morning and evening masterclasses, Preston will offer a special class in historical dancing in which everyone is invited to participate.