Stephen Stirling is a horn soloist and chamber musician of worldwide renown. His discography includes over 90 chamber works and concertos,
many of them world premiere recordings, of both contemporary and neglected works by British composers alongside the great masterpieces for horn. His second recording of the Brahms Horn Trio, with the Florestan Trio (Hyperion), was nominated for a Gramophone award and his set of Mozart Horn Concertos (BMG/Classic FM) with the City of London Sinfonia has been broadcast hundreds of times by Classic FM. The Concertino for Horn by Weber (Chandos), conducted by Michael Collins is also much broadcast. He has played at chamber music festivals all over the world to glowing reviews, ‘phenomenal’ (Berlin) and ‘incomparable’ (Graz). The CD ‘Horn’, with the Fibonacci Sequence on Deux Elles features both favourite and obscure masterpieces from the horn repertoire.
He is the principal horn of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, the City of London Sinfonia and the Orchestra of St Johns, and appears regularly as guest principal with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. He has played as soloist with the ASMF and CLS, the Orchestra of St Johns, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, The Chamber Orchestra of Europe and many others.
Throughout his career Stephen has been associated with innovative ensembles. The New London Chamber Ensemble was one of the first groups,
now much imitated, to pioneer choreographed performances in wind chamber music. In collaboration with Endymion, Capricorn, the NLCE, the Fibonacci Sequence, Arpège, the Composers Ensemble and the Hebrides Ensemble, he has been involved with commissioning, premiering and recording countless new works, chamber and solo, working with some of the finest composers of our time, James Macmillan, Martin Butler, Harrison Birtwistle, Thomas Adés, Sally Beamish, Brett Dean, Jörg Widmann, and Gary Carpenter to name a few. He was an early member of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe which revolutionised performance practice of the classical repertoire on modern instruments through their work with Nikolaus Harnoncourt, and recently Stephen has relished working for Aurora Orchestra in memorised live orchestral performances of Beethoven, Mozart, and Brahms symphonies.
Stephen is Professor of Horn at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and is a faculty member of the Yellow Barn International Summer Music School and Festival in Vermont, USA. His own studies were at the Royal Northern College of Music with Ifor James and later, privately, with Julian Baker.
Although known primarily as a horn player and more recently a conductor, Tony Halstead has been active as a keyboard player for many years. His first major recording project other than as a horn player, the complete cycle of Johann Christian Bach’s 15 fortepiano concertos and 12 harpsichord concertos, with The Hanover Band, was for the German record company cpo.
Soloists and conductors with whom he has collaborated as a continuo player include Christophe Coin, Christopher Hogwood, Gidon Kremer, Julian Lloyd Webber, Simon Standage, Crispian Steele-Perkins, Benedict Preece, Pinchas Zukerman and many others.
As a ‘modern’ pianist Tony has played recitals with instrumentalists Hermann Baumann, William Bennett, Christian Halstead, Frank Lloyd, Thomas Martin, Stephen Stirling, Michael Thompson, Radovan Vlatković, Richard Watkins, and the late Alan Civil, Ifor James and Barry Tuckwell.