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Josephine Stephenson

Josephine’s work has been performed by musicians including the Britten-Pears Ensemble, Sinfonia d’Amici, explorensemble, The Hermes Experiment, Outcry Ensemble, The Erebus Ensemble, the Maîtrise de Radio France, the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge, the Albany Trio, the Van Kuijk Quartet, and violinists Joo Yeon Sir and Fiona Monbet, in venues such as the Studio Olivier Messiaen (Radio France, Paris), Kettle’s Yard (Cambridge), the Bristol Old Vic, the National Portrait Gallery and LSO St Luke’s (London).

In May 2014, her first opera On False Perspective, written with librettist Ben Osborn, was staged at the Britten Theatre as part of a collaborative project between the Royal College of Music and Tête à Tête Opera, and received positive reviews. In June of the same year she received a Composer Bursary from PRS/Bliss Trust to record her first orchestral piece, Abend, with Sinfonia d’Amici, for whom the piece was written. The Classical Source described the premiere in September 2013 as “a strong work matched with an equally strong performance”, displaying “delicate textures” and a “kaleidoscopic orchestration”. Her 40-part choral piece for the last night of the Bristol Proms 2015, if only, was described by Tom Morris as a “brilliantly ambitious piece, sparely and precisely scored, [which] seemed to paint the volume of air in the space with musical brush-strokes of precise detail”.

Collaboration is central to Josephine’s work. In 2015 she is working with the award-winning theatre company FellSwoop Theatre on Ghost Opera, a project mixing theatre and opera which started life at the academy of the Festival d’Art Lyrique d’Aix-en-Provence. Her interest in cinema has led her to make a lot of music for films, most recently the short film Emma, Change the Locks directed by Julia Hart and starring Olivia Williams (for which she won ‘Best Composer’ at Underwire Festival 2015), as well as regularly assisting composers Dario Marianelli and Benjamin Wallfisch on major productions. She also enjoys working as an arranger and session musician for alternative pop bands.

Josephine is an Artistic Director and resident composer of the London-based concert production company Listenpony, which puts on events mixing contemporary classical music with traditional classical music, pop and folk. Listenpony has attracted a growing audience since its inception in June 2012, and has been held in bars, theatres, galleries, churches and crypts across London.

Josephine read music as an undergraduate at Clare College, Cambridge, before completing a Masters in Composition at the Royal College of Music as a Richard Carne scholar, graduating with Distinction in 2014. Her composition teachers have been Kenneth Hesketh and Giles Swayne, and she has participated in masterclasses led by Samuel Adler, Mark-Anthony Turnage, Georg Friedrich Haas and Ivan Fedele among others. In the summer of 2014 she was awarded the Clifton Parker Bursary to take part in the advanced composition course at Dartington International Summer School led by Colin Matthews, and in 2015/16 is a Britten-Pears Young Artist as part of the Composition Programme led by Oliver Knussen and Colin Matthews.


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