Bridging Cultures: Beethoven 250 and Beyond – Presenters

Stephen De Pledge

New Zealander Stephen De Pledge played viola, oboe and piano throughout his years at school in Hamilton, and was a member of the National Youth Orchestra for 5 years from the age of 15.  He gained his LTCL diplomas in viola and piano, and Grade 8 in oboe and violin, before focusing on the piano after studies at the University of Auckland.  He continued postgraduate study with Joan Havill at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, where he was the first pianist in the school’s history to win all the major piano prizes (Beethoven, Schubert and Romantic) and the top award, the Gold Medal.  He spent two years as Junior Fellow at the Royal College of Music before continuing his studies privately with Yvonne Loriod in Paris.  He was awarded the NFMS Young Concert Artist award, which launched his career in the UK and beyond, and he now performs internationally as a soloist and chamber musician.  He has performed more than twenty times in the Wigmore Hall, and made many visits to venues such as Queen Elizabeth Hall and Barbican Hall in London.  He has given concerto performances with the BBC Scottish Symphony, Bournemouth Symphony, New London and Philharmonia Orchestras, amongst others.  Solo performances in recent seasons have taken him to Tokyo, Cologne, Paris, London and Edinburgh, as well as throughout New Zealand.  His extensive discography includes works by Bliss, Barber, Messiaen, Shostakovich and Brahms, and premiere recordings of Arvo Pärt, Henryk Gorecki, Ned Rorem and the 1st piano concerto of Lyell Cresswell for Naxos.  In addition to his performing schedule Stephen De Pledge has a teaching position in the piano department at the School of Music, University of Auckland.