Biography

Stephen has long been internationally considered one of the leading silent film accompanists. A house pianist at London’s BFI Southbank for over thirty years, he has played at all the major UK venues and recorded music for many DVD and online releases of silent films. Although principally a pianist, he often incorporates other instruments into his performances, sometimes simultaneously.

He regularly performs internationally and in recent years his accompaniments have met with acclaim at film festivals in Pordenone, Bologna, San Francisco, Telluride, Paris, Cannes, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Shanghai, Seoul, Istanbul, Berlin and Vienna.

In 2011 and 2012, Stephen was commissioned to compose ensemble scores for the London Film Festival Archive Galas of The First Born and The Manxman. In 2012 his accompaniment for Rotaie won the main prize at the Bonn Sommerkino Festival and he was subsequently invited to repeat the performance at that year’s Beethovenfest. For six years, from 2014 to 2019, he won in the category ‘Best Screening with a Single Accompanist’ in the Silent London end-of-year poll.

During the lockdowns of 2020 – 2021, Stephen was commissioned to record scores for several online presentations of silent films. Two of these, Penrod and Sam and Prix de Beaute, won ‘Best Online Silent Film Screening’ in consecutive Silent London polls. Also during the period of Covd lockdowns, Stephen released Silent Sirens, an album of solo piano pieces based on several of his silent film scores. It was released by the classical music label Ulysses Arts across all the digital platforms and has so far been streamed 150,000 times.

Stephen’s music can be heard on the following CDs / DVDs / Blu-Rays:

Silent Sirens
(music album – digital release through Ulysses Arts, CD available from Bandcamp)

Der Golem
(released by Masters of Cinema / Eureka Video, Murnau-Stiftung)

Szalency, aka Daredevils
(
released by FINA / Polish National Film Archive)

Fragment of an Empire
(
released by Flicker Alley)

Behind The Door
(
released by Flicker Alley)

Variete
(
released by Masters of Cinema / Eureka Video)

Buster Keaton: The Complete Short Films 1917-1923
(
released by Lobster Films, Kino Lorber, Eureka Video)

A Cottage on Dartmoor, Primitives and Pioneers, RW Paul: the Collected Films, Mitchell and Kenyon: Edwardian Sports, Tales From the Shipyard, A Royal Occasion
(all released by The British Film Institute)

Six et Demi, Onze, La Glace a Trois Faces
(included in Jean Epstein Premiere Vague, released by La Cinematheque Francaise)

Four Short WW1 Films, including Noel de Guerre
(released by Gaumont-Pathe Archives)

Chaplin’s Mutual Comedies
(released by Flicker Alley, Lobster Films)

The Nail in the Boot
(released by Edition Filmmuseum)

Roald Amundsen’s “Maud” expedition 1922-1925, The Airship Norge’s Flight Across the Arctic Ocean
(released by The National Library of Norway)

Treasures from American Archives V
(various films including Mantrap, released by The National Film Preservation Foundation)

The Battle of the Somme
(released by The Imperial War Museum)

The Battle of the Ancre and Advance of the Tanks
(released by The Imperial War Museum)

Chaplin at Keystone
(released by Flicker Alley, BFI, Lobster Films)

The Soul of Youth
(included in Treasures from American Archives III, released by The National Film Preservation Foundation)

Max Davidson Comedies, Der Bettler vom Kolner Dom (short film ‘extras’)
(released by Edition Filmmunich)