Steve is Director of Music at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, looking after an ever-growing music facility.
Life off campus sees Steve playing viola professionally with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra together with being a music educationalist, facilitator and composer. He has worked with some of the worlds most famous and inspirational musicians, playing in Scotland and throughout the world. He started playing at the age of 7, going on to study at the Royal Northern College of Music.
Steve moved to Scotland to join the SCO in 1984, having previously worked in the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra and as a music teacher in the Welsh borders. As a composer, Steve has had many of his works played throughout the country, also on television and radio. He has won various awards to further his research and development in composition and its vital link into education and the community. Most recent commissions are – ‘The Rhynie Man’ to celebrate the forming of the new Aberdeenshire Youth Orchestra; ‘Prelude’ an electronically created piece to open the new Petroleum Institute in Scotland; ‘Illuminating St. Columba’ for the choir and orchestra of Heriot-Watt University, a Concerto for Clarinet, Percussion and Orchestra for the Banff Festival and various smaller pieces for music groups at Heriot-Watt University.
Through his work at Heriot-Watt and many other music institutional settings in Scotland, Steve has become sought after as a conductor, showing strong commitment to the community sector of music making, exploring both contemporary and mainstream repertoire.
As a music educationalist and facilitator, Steve has led numerous creative music projects throughout the UK, working in a multitude of environments. Through this work, together with the training of staff, teachers and trainers, which is a very important element of involvement in creative projects, Steve has raised the profile of music as a tool for teambuilding and group development skills. This emphasis on music and team building has attracted the attention of some high profile businesses, which have used Steve in their team building programmes with great success. This has projected creative music into the corporate community and new exciting territories.
In 2005 Steve was awarded an MBE for services to music. In 2006 he was awarded the Paul Harris Fellowship by the International Rotary Foundation in recognition of his dedicated service to music in the community. In 2009 Steve was awarded an Honorary Doctorate [D.Litt.] by Heriot-Watt University.
And when he is not working? Steve is married to Anne and, when their schedule allows they drive to the West Coast of Scotland where they launch their boat and motor to a small island where they have a ‘butt ‘n ben’ [small cottage]. Here is the place to chill, cook, and catch up on life – it’s also a wonderful place to create and write!
Photo © Jeremy Hardie