Biography

Stephen Savage received his early training for Dorothy Hesse, a leading student of Tobias Matthay who also taught Myra Hess and Clifford Curzon. He first came to attention at 16 with a performance of Beethoven's 4th Concerto with the National Youth Orchestra. At this time he was also prizewinner in the Daily Mirror national competition for young pianists and recorded for Classics Club. His studies at the Royal College of Music was preceded by a year in Vienna where he worked with Bruno Seidlhofer. At the RCM he won major awards including the Dannreuther Prize for concerto playing and the Worshipful Company of Musicians medal and was granted assistance from the Countess of Munster and Ralph Vaughan Williams Trusts.

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His work at the RCM over 4 years with his teacher, the leading UK virtuoso Cyril Smith lead to Stephen becoming his teaching assistant at a time when he was making his initial recital appearances in the London Piano Series at the Wigmore Hall and in many BBC broadcasts including live appearances in the Invitation Concerts. His repertoire grew to include new music including works written for him by Roger Smalley (Missa Parodia) and Justin Connolly and he became known as an authoritative performer of Tippett's Sonatas giving local first performances in Australia, Canada and Japan. He took part in piano duo performances with Roger Smalley and they gave the first performances together of Smalley's epic Accord in 1976.

Stephen Savage was soon appointed to the piano staff of the RCM where he also became involved with presenting and conducting new music within the Twentieth Century Ensemble. He later took up an invitation to head up the Piano Department at the Queensland Conservatorium in Brisbane, Australia where he appeared frequently as soloist with most of the country's leading orchestras. Collaborating with leading conductors such as Werner Andreas Albert, Nicholas Braithwaite, Omri Hadari, Jorge Mester and Ronald Zollman. Stephen became active in collaboration with visiting composers including Lutoslawski (which led to an invitation to give the local first performance of his Piano Concerto with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra), Tippett, (in two visits the second of which in 1990 remains the largest survey of any living composer to be presented in Australia) David del Tredici and Peter Sculthorpe.

 

Stephen has made acclaimed recordings of works by Beethoven (the last three Sonatas) Debussy, Liszt, Moussorgsky and Tippett. He has appeared in concert and on radio in Canada, Hong Kong,Ireland,New Zealand and Japan as well as Australia and UK. He is Honorary Professor at the Wuhan Consevatoire in China and Visiting Artist to the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. He now teaches a class at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester.

 

Stephen Savage was awarded PhD from Griffith University for his thesis Behind the Text, Beyond the Sound, investigations into the creative aspect of performing, together with an account of his life as a musician within his community.