Stephen De Pledge (New Zealand)
Photo Credit: Kelley Eady Loveridge
New Zealand pianist Stephen De Pledge performs internationally as a soloist and chamber musician. As a student in New Zealand he played the viola in the National Youth Orchestra and the oboe with many professional ensembles throughout the country. As a pianist he worked as principal repetiteur for NZ Opera and was a founder member of Class Act Opera, taking opera to thousands of school children around the North Island. Stephen is also an occasional composer: his Carmen Fantasy for 6 pianists has been performed at the Dartington Festival (UK), St John’s Smith Square (London) and Arizona State University (USA). His chamber opera ‘Singerella’ has been performed more than fifty times in New Zealand schools.
After studies at Auckland University he was awarded scholarships to attend the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. Whilst there he won the Beethoven, Schubert and Romantic piano prizes, and played in masterclasses with many visiting pianists. In his final year he won the school’s highest award, the Gold Medal, and in the same year the NFMS Young Concert Artists’ Award, which led to debuts in the Wigmore Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall in London. Stephen went on to perform more than twenty times at the Wigmore Hall in the following decade. He continued his studies with Yvonne Loriod in Paris for several years, forming a particularly strong association with the music of Messiaen. For 2 years he held a Junior Fellowship at the Royal College of Music, and he went on to give classes on Performance Practice there in the Masters programme.
He has given concerto performances with the BBC Scottish Symphony, Bournemouth Symphony, New London and Philharmonia Orchestras, amongst others. Solo performances in recent seasons have taken him to Tokyo, Cologne, Paris, London and Edinburgh, as well as throughout New Zealand.
As a chamber musician, Stephen has collaborated with groups such as the Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet, the English Chamber Orchestra Ensemble and the Scottish Ensemble. Recent chamber music performances have been in New York, Dresden, Bogotà, Shanghai, Paris and Beijing, and he has performed at many International Festivals in the UK and abroad. Stephen has collaborated with many musicians, including Felicity Lott, Viktoria Mullova, Alan Hacker, Evelyn Glennie and Rivka Golani.
His extensive discography for Naxos, Champs Hill Records and Quartz includes works by Bliss, Barber, Messiaen, Shostakovich and Brahms, and premiere recordings of the Sonatinas of Arvo Pärt and song cycles by Ned Rorem. With a strong interest in contemporary music, Stephen has given the premiere of many works, including the Cresswell piano concerto which he performed in Wellington, Auckland, Christchurch and Glasgow before making an acclaimed recording for Naxos. He worked under the guidance of Arvo Pärt during a festival of all his chamber music and solo works in Edinburgh.
Since 2010 Stephen has lived in Auckland, where he holds a teaching position at the University of Auckland alongside his performing career.
2015 Competition Winner
The Michael Hill International Violin Competition 2016 Winner’s Tour is made possible through the exceptional collegiality with partners Chamber Music New Zealand, Music Viva Australia and Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra.
In addition to the generosity shown by our sponsors, we wish to thank the following companies for their support of the 2016 Winner’s Tour:
Attire for Suyeon Kang provided by Kiri Nathan, Queenstown hospitality equipment provided by Party Plus.