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Steph Power www.philosovariant.blogspot.com
Steph Power is a composer, poet, critic and essayist. She is an opera and classical music critic for The Independent and Music Editor of the Wales Arts Review: www.walesartsreview.org

Currently, she is working on a commission to write two chapters for a book on composer Simon Holt, forthcoming from Boydell and Brewer (ed. Prof David Charlton) - and looking forward to a performance of her piece 'Fool's Gold' by toy pianist Xenia Pestova in Leeds in September 2015.


Steph was born in London in 1965 and has lived in Wales for nearly twenty-five years. She studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the University of York, from where she graduated with 1st Class Honours in music in 1987. She then worked as a performer for some years (mainly guitars but also percussion and narration) specialising in contemporary and 20th Century music of all genres, appearing with many well-known ensembles including Gemini, Icebreaker, Lontano, renowned soprano Jane Manning's Minstrels (of whom she was a founder member), Innererklang and Northern Music Theatre and appearing at venues and festivals all over the UK and abroad, including the Wigmore and Queen Elizabeth Halls, Purcell Room, Aldeburgh, Huddersfield and Spitalfields Festivals, the Park Lane Group, Contemporary Music Network tours and NYC's Bang-on-a-Can together with tours in Europe and Scandinavia, broadcasts and recordings. Between 1993 and 2001, she made a number of visits to the Arizona Reservation in the US to study Navajo drumming with tribal elders.

In recent years, Steph has worked mainly as a writer and teacher alongside composing. She has composed a number of chamber pieces in particular and has enjoyed performances by PM Music Ensemble, Chamber Domaine, the Bridge Duo and pianist Llyr Williams amongst others. She also makes occasional forays into rock and dance music writing and production, notably through projects as community composer, including a fruitful 18 months as Caerphilly Composer-in-Residence, together with countless Rockshools and Songwriting workshops. She has worked with Arts Care, Community Music Wales (latterly in the training of community musicians), Arts Connection, Celf o Gwmpas, Blackwood Users Resources Drop-In, as well as music education work with Gemini, Icebreaker and Innereklang and organising a major lottery-funded Arts Education project for schools within Powys.

Steph has always had a keen interest in cultural and social philosophy and politics and, in the late '80s to early '90s, proved a successful administrator and ambassador for the pressure group Women in Music, which did pioneering work in drawing attention to gender inequalities throughout the music business.

As a writer and poet, Steph has been published by a wide range of journals and magazines, with polemical essays and poetry appearing in Planet Magazine, the New Left Project, the Lonely Crowd, the Journal, the Cannon's Mouth, Poetry Cornwall, Ink, sweat and Tears and Poetry Wales. Further reviews, essays, interviews and articles have been published in Tempo and Planet Magazine as well as (forthcoming) Opera Magazine.

Steph has provided copy writing and lecturing services for clients such as Welsh National Opera and the Vale of Glamorgan Festival.

She is a music examiner for Trinity College, London and can sometimes be heard holding forth on matters cultural on BBC Radio Wales.


SELECTED WORKS:

Five Short Pieces for Harpsichord, for Andrew Wilson-Dickson, c7.5mins.

"Sad Clown" for 'cello and soprano saxophone/Bb Clarinet, for Tabea Schrenk, c4.5mins

Trio for Flute, Viola and Guitar, for Still Life with Guitar, c12.5mins

Sonata for Viola and Piano, c12mins

violinpianocellopiano, an acousmatic piece, c20'

"Fool's Gold" for Toy Piano/Piano c3mins

"Inner Sanctum" for Piano, for Llyr Williams commissioned by Lower Machen Festival, c10mins

"Eye of the Dragon" for mixed ensemble and childrens' chorus commissioned by Caerphilly County Borough Council, c10mins

Horn Trio for Roger Montgomery, c12mins

"Shift", a MIDI composition utilising Yamaha DJX and Roland XP50 keyboards commissioned by Caerphilly County Borough Council, c22mins

"Invocation" for Organ, for Martha Holmes and Frank McDermot, c3mins

Music for 'Cello and Piano, for Paul Kellett, c12mins

String Quartet, first played by Chamber Domaine, c13mins

"Dreamtides" for Violin and Piano, first played by PM Ensemble, c10mins

Song for the Harp for Brid Boland, 5-10mins



SELECTED RECORDINGS:
As composer:

Composers of Wales 01 - M4 with Matthew Jones and Michael Hampton, the Bridge Duo, "Dreamtides" c10mins - www.welshcontemporary.com

"The Hub": an album of nine dance music tracks arising from a Valleys Project with young people, total c40mins funded by PRS Foundation and Caerphilly County Borough Council

"Der Tellum": a techno EP of three tracks, total c16mins


As performer:

Jane Manning sings Weir, Nash, Connelly, Bauld, Elias, Payne, Gilbert, NMC DO25

"Rogue's Gallery", Icebreaker, Felmay

Graham Fitkin collection, with Icebreaker, Decca compilation