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Steven Mead - biography
Englishman Steven Mead (B.1962) needs no introduction to brass enthusiasts around the world as his playing and teaching have become known to virtually all who have a love for the instrument known as the euphonium.
As a soloist his career as a professional solo performer continues to break new ground. With over 75 solo performances a year his relentless schedule sees him touring almost constantly.
This remarkable solo career followed on from the successes he achieved as a member of several of the UK’s leading brass bands. Nowadays he travels constantly and performs regularly with some of the finest brass, wind and symphonic ensembles in the world.
He has played solo concerti with symphony orchestras in Norway (Trondheim Symphony Orchestra) , Finland (Lahti Symphony Orchestra cond.Osmo Vänskä, and Helsinki Philharmonic cond. Elgar Howarth), Poland (Capella Cracoviensis), USA (Minneapolis Pops Orchestra), Canada, Italy, Germany (Stuttgart Philharmonic) Japan (Japan Chamber Orchestra), and Lithuania.
As a soloist he has played with most of the leading brass and military bands in the world including Band of the Garde Republicaine (Paris, France) The Central Band of the RAF (London, UK) The Italian Police, Carabinieri, and Army Bands (Rome, Italy), The Dutch Marine Band (Rotterdam,Netherlands) The US Army Band (Washington DC, USA).
He has been described as one of the world’s most recorded solo brass artists with over 65 CDs produced since 1990!
He is the owner of a music label, Bocchino Music which now produces and distributes his albums.
As an innovator for the whole ‘low brass’ world in general, he has been the Artistic Director of all 6 of the National Tuba / Euphonium Conferences , held in the UK, and was the Artistic Director of the ITEC 2012, to be held in Linz, Austria, June 23-30, 2012.
He has also given concert tours with several leading professional chamber ensembles in Europe, including 'Spanish Brass Quintet, ‘Sound-Inn-Brass’ (Austria), ‘Classic Quintet’ (Bolzano,Italy) ‘Trombonisti Italiani’ (Italy) and London Brass.
His innovation is also evident with his premiere performances of new concerti and major works by Martin Ellerby, Philip Sparke, Torstein Aagaard Nilsen, Tadeusz Kassatti, John Reeman, Derek Bourgeois, Vladimir Cosma, Thomas Dos, Rolf Rudin, Howard Snell, Hermann Pallhuber to name but a few.
As a teacher he is Professor of Euphonium the Royal Northern College of Music, in Manchester UK and also at teaches at several specialist schools across Europe, and in Japan. He has been responsible for the first ever euphonium masterclasses in Italy, Portugal, Lithuania, Slovenia, Russia and Austria. Students from all around the world come to study with him the UK and many of them have gone on to enjoy top professional careers. He has recently been awarded the Fellowship of the RNCM for his services to this prestigious institution.
As a designer Steven has been an artist and clinician, and now Ambassador for Besson (part of The Buffet Group) for many years, being involved with testing and the development of new instruments. Also he has been responsible for the design and development of the Steven Mead series of brass mouthpieces and mutes with ‘Denis Wick Products’, with whom he is an International Ambassador.
As a communicator
Many commentators suggest it is Steven’s vocal background (from the age of 6) that is responsible for the truly unique beauty of his euphonium tone. The rich expressive approach to musical performance has been admired by professional musicians around the world and as a result Steven is performing increasingly with orchestras and chamber ensembles in addition to brass and wind bands.
His concerts and recitals are hallmarked by a unique communication between artist and audience.
Steven Mead's Artist Profile
Steven Mead is widely regarded as one of the most successful professional euphonium soloists in the world today, performing over 75 concerts per year with some of the leading orchestras, wind bands and brass bands in the world. In recent years he has played solo concerti with symphony orchestras, including: Germany (Stuttgart Philharmonic Orchestra) Norway (Trondheim Symphony Orchestra) , Finland (Lahti Symphony Orchestra and Helsinki Philharmonic), Poland (Capella Cracoviensis), USA (Minneapolis Pops Orchestra) and the Japan Chamber Orchestra.
Steven has also appeared as soloist with many of the leading military bands in the world including Band of the Garde Republicaine (Paris, France), The Central Band of the RAF (London, UK), The Italian Police, Carabinieri, and Army Bands (Rome, Italy), The Dutch Marine Band (Rotterdam,Netherlands), The US Army Band (Washington DC, USA).
He has been a featured guest at all the major brass and wind band festivals and low brass festivals, including several at European Brass Band Championships and National Brass Band Festivals as well as at similar events in Norway, the Netherlands , Belgium, Sweden, USA and Japan and the MidWest Band Clinic, Chicago.
There have been world premiere performances of over 250 solo works for euphonium including the premiere performances of euphonium works by Philip Sparke (all 3 of his concerti for solo euphonium), Martin Ellerby (Euphonium Concerto), James Curnow, Tadeus Kassatti, Torstein Aagaard Nilsen (Concerto for Euphonium and Orchestra), Robert Jager, Vladimir Cosma (Concerto for Euphonium and wind orchestra, and brass band), Rolf Wihelm (Concertino for Euphonium), Arthur Butterworth, John Reeman, Thomas Dos, Yasuhide Ito, Marco Putz, Rolf Rudin (Concerto for Euphonium and Symphony Orchestra) and Hermann Pallhuber (Bliss) for example.
He is the most recorded euphonium artist in the world, with 65 CDs where he is featured as soloist or guest soloist, including the World of the Euphonium Series (five volumes) the Euphonium Magic series (three volumes) of multitrack recording, five CDs with the British Tuba Quartet (1991-2000) which he formed in 1991.
He is featured on 16 educational books (all with CD) with the deHaske company (Hal Leonard)
Several of his recordings have won international awards, including British Bandsman Solo CD of the year 2006,2008 and 4Barsrest.com Solo CD of the Year 2006,2008 , Brass Band World Solo CD of the Year 2008, and the Roger Bobo International Recording Award 2006 and 2008.
In 2002 he formed his own recording company, Bocchino Music, and now produces and distributes all his own recordings. Several of these CDs have won national and international awards.
In recent years Steven has been involved in new creative projects as a soloist with leading chamber groups in Europe:
Spanish Brass quintet – widely regarded as the leading Brass quintet in Europe today. With them he recorded the album 'Brass and Wines' which includes two important original works by leading Spanish composers.
Trombonisti Italiana – with this quartet of Italian trombonists, he recorded two albums, '4Valves4Slides' and ‘Colours of the World’. The latter was an original concept that sourced some previously unknown folk music from around the world. They have also given over 15 concerts in Europe.
Sound Inn Brass – Together they recorded two albums with this professional 12-piece symphonic brass ensemble based in Upper Austria. Several of the works recorded were first performances of original compositions an arrangements for euphonium and symphonic Brass ensemble. They have toured Europe together giving over 30 concerts in the last eight years and was for five years musical director and conductor of this ensemble.
Classic Quintet – This collaboration with this woodwind quintet, based in Bolzano, Italy produced two albums and over twenty concerts . Steven is the first euphonium player to develop repertoire for euphonium and woodwind quintet. Several of these works have now been published.
Steven is a founder member and solo euphonium of the Brass Band of Battle Creek, USA since 1992 (www.bbbc.net), the leading fully professional brass band in the world.
He was recently awarded the title Professor of Euphonium at the RNCM, where he has inspired young talented euphonium and baritone students for over 23 years. He was also recently been appointed a Fellow of the RNCM for his services to this hallowed institution.
He was one of the very first euphonium teachers in higher education in the UK, first being invited to teach euphonium at the Royal Academy of Music by the then Head of Brass, Harold Nash, a position he held for five years, until deciding to concentrate his activities further north, firstly teaching at the Birmingham conservatoire of 12 years where he was also Director of Conservatoire Brass Band and Wind Orchestra for four years. Then Steven concentrated his teaching activities at the RNCM where he has attracted students from many countries including, USA, Japan, Taiwan, Australia, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Lithuania, Latvia, Thailand, Singapore, Spain, France and China. Many of these students have returned to their countries and won positions as teachers or as members of leading military orchestras.
Steve has also been involved with innovative euphonium education and the world, for example. He directed the Euphonium Course at the new European Superior Institute for Bands , in Trento, Italy (2000-2006), co-sponsored by the European Union. He has also given many master classes and workshops in Holland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy , Spain, Luxembourg, France, Norway, Sweden, Estonia, Russia, Denmark, Finland, USA, Canada, Japan, Singapore, Belgium, Australia, New Zealand, Slovenia, Lithuania and Poland.
Steve directed all six of British National Tuba Euphonium Festivals, 1994/95/97/99/00/04 in Birmingham and Manchester as well as 3 Dutch Tuba Festivals and 2 Belgian Low Brass Festivals.
He was the Artistic Director of the highly successful International Tuba Euphonium Conference (ITEC) held in Linz, Austria, June 23-30, 2012.
He is currrently Artistic Director of the Jeju International Wind Ensemble Festival, held annually on Jeju Island, South Korea.
He is proud of his work as an instrument consultant and clinician for the instrument company Besson for over 25 years and has been responsible for the development and design work for their three most recent professional model Euphoniums , the Besson GS model euphonium, the Besson Prestige and Sovereign Euphoniums, suggesting fourteen new design features that were accepted for the new Prestige range. Now he is involved with all stages of development work and subsequent testing, visiting the factory in Markneukirchen,Germany each month to play-test their entire professional series production. He is an Ambassador for Besson.
With the iconic British brass accessory company Denis Wick Products – he originated the ‘SM’ and 'Ultra' ranges, much sought after and played by many of the leading players in the world. It is estimated that over 55,000 of these mouthpieces have been sold around the world since 1995. He has also recently designed the highly acclaimed SM Travel Mute. In March 2014 Steven was appointed as an International Ambassador for Denis Wick Products.
Through his specialist websites www.euphonium.net and www.euphoniumstore.net he aims to not only inform the world about development of the euphonium but also facilitate the circulation of all newly published original music for euphonium and tuba with over 500 titles in the catalogue.
additional biographical information
Steven Mead's extraordinary pioneering work with the euphonium has gained him worldwide fame as perhaps the foremost euphonium soloist in the world today . He is without doubt most travelled soloist in the history of the instrument. His hectic schedule sees him playing concerts with leading ensembles, orchestras, brass and wind bands the world over. In recent years he has diversified still further he has begun to play popular styles and jazz.
He is currently in great demand as a recitalist and clinician throughout the world of brass playing (please refer to the events schedule on this site). Not only has he been at the forefront of performance but is credited as a pioneer in euphonium education and repertoire. Steven has been a professional euphonium soloist for some 18 years after a successful career with some of the top British brass bands and as a full time music teacher. It is this wealth of experience that has helped to create a musician who communicates with his audiences.
Born in Bournemouth , February 26th , 1962, he grew up at this popular south coast seaside town, attending Bournemouth School for Boys from 1973-1980. His earliest brass 'training' began at the age of 6, with the Boscombe Salvation Army Junior Band. The euphonium was too big at that stage (!) and over the next few years, gravitated lower, onto tenor horn, then baritone, then at the age of 11 to the euphonium. From the age of 8 to 12 he took singing lessons passing his Grade 8 singing exam with distinction, as a boy soprano!
His love for the euphonium seriously developed from the age of 13 and he was entering competitions at local music festivals from this time. Early teachers included Bernhard Roberts and Glyn Bosanko at the Boscombe SA. From the age of 17 Steven took lessons from brass band euphonium legend Trevor Groom, travelling by train from Bournemouth to Kettering regularly, a round trip of 7 hours on Saturdays. From Bournemouth he moved to the West Country to begin his studies at Bristol University. Whilst at Bristol he came into contact with the composer Derek Bourgeois who encouraged him greatly to persevere while many others gave him advice that to become a professional player he would have to move to the trombone. Although Steven was playing a lot of trombone at the time, the Bristol years clarified that the euphonium was the instrument for his future career whatever that would be. He graduated with a BA Honours degree in Music and moved 12 miles south to the Newton Park College, Bath where he gained a Post Graduate Certificate in Education, qualifying him to teach at secondary school level, (high school).
His brass playing whilst at Bristol was with the University Symphony Orchestra (1st trombone) and with the Bristol Easton Salvation Army Band, then later, the Sun Life Stanshawe Band, his first 'contesting' band. As he completed his studies at Bath he received an invitation from Howard Snell , the musical director of the Desford Colliery Band, to join the band with immediate effect. As luck would have it a teaching job at the DeFerrers High School in Burton on Trent, in the Midlands, quite close to the band room, came vacant and Steven won the job and joined the band.
Television success undoubtedly helped his early career. On two occasions he won the solo prize in the BBC Best of Brass Competition (1983 with Sun Life and 85 with Desford). He also was awarded the Euphonium Player of the Year Award 1986 and 1993. The Desford years 1983-1989 saw the band playing at its very best, achieving many awards, including the European Championship, the Granada Band of the Year, BBC Best of Brass and the hat trick of victories at the National Brass Band Championships at the Royal Albert Hall. London (1987-89).
He enjoyed the high school teaching too with several outstanding music students going on to superb professional careers in music, He was also the conductor of the school brass band, string orchestra and directed 3 of the school shows.
By 1989 Steven had been invited to teach euphonium at the Royal Academy of Music, London, the Birmingham Conservatoire, and the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. The diary was getting very full and reluctantly the high school teaching had to be phased out over the next 3 years. The professional solo engagements also were already at around 40 per year, raising to its current level of about 75.
It is a spirit of innovation which has driven his career, from his early success with some of the leading brass bands in the UK, to his founding of the British Tuba Quartet to the countless premieres and commissions of new music. He premiered the Euphonium Concerto by Martin Ellerby in Switzerland with the Brassband Berner Oberland, and the Euphonium Concerto by Philip Sparke with the Breeze Brass Band in Osaka, Japan.
Innovative too is his work with the unique Brass Band of Battle Creek (USA), his involvement with the 6 National Tuba Euphonium Festivals (1994-2000) in the UK, and his setting up of specialist euphonium 'schools' in the Benelux countries and Japan. His innovation has extended to mouthpiece and instrument design, including the new Besson (www.besson.com) Prestige Euphonium, with many Steven Mead products now in demand the world over.
Now his lives with his new wife, euphonium star Misa Mead (Akahoshi), in the village of Fenny Drayton, near Nuneaton and concentrates most of his energies to his extraordinary solo career, the Royal Northern College of Music, Denis Wick Products, Bocchino Music and EuphoniumStore.net and of course Besson. Whether as a campaigner for the instrument or on the concert hall stage Steven is rarely out of the spotlight, each year he continues to take the euphonium to new audiences including concerts with the Minneapolis Pops Orchestra, the Capella Cracoviensis (Poland), London Brass, the Dutch Marine Band and the US Army Band, Trombonisti Italiani, the Japan Chamber Orchestra, Sound INN Brass (Austria) and the Classic Quintet (Italy), The Garde Republicaine Band (France).
His CD company Bocchino Music is already very well known for its award winning CDs, including Euphonium Magic Volumes 1,2 and 3, Euphonium Virtuoso, Locomotion, Audacious (double CD), 20 Supreme Years, Virtuoso Music for Brass, Beautiful Sounds, Fandango, Rococo Variations, Diamonds and the most recent release, Pearls.