Irish born composer Stephen McNeff grew up in South Wales, where an inspirational teacher awoke his interest in music. After studying composition at the Royal Academy of Music, his career began by working in theatres throughout Britain, followed by a period in Canada where his posts included composer-in-residence at the Banff Centre. His reputation began to grow from the première of his opera for young people Clockwork in 2004, based on Philip Pullman’s book, at the Royal Opera House’s Linbury Theatre, and his appointment the following year to the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra as the first Royal Philharmonic Society/Performing Rights Society Foundation Composer in the House.
McNeff’s theatrical work has continued to flourish with the operas Gentle Giant (2007), commissioned by the Royal Opera, Tarka (2005-6) which won a coveted British Composer Award for Best Stage Work in 2007, and The Secret Garden which was revised for Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in 2012. ConcertO Duo premiered at the 80th birthday concert of the BBC Symphony Orchestra in 2010, and more recently 2014 saw concertos for flute and oboe (the latter as part of his residency at the Presteigne Festival) and a highly successful new version of Bizet’s Carmen for Mid Wales Opera. 2016 included the premiere of a new opera, Banished, with a libretto by Olivia Fuchs based on the play Female Transport by Steve Gooch.
Future projects include an opera commissioned by Welsh National Opera and the Welsh TV channel S4C.