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Stephen Preston

Stephen Preston

Stephen Preston is one of the leading musicians in the pioneering development of early music performance in the UK and Europe, and one of its most acclaimed figures. He established a worldwide reputation for his groundbreaking solo and ensemble performances and recordings on historical flutes.
In 2012 Stephen formed Trio Aporia with innovative musicians Jane Chapman (harpsichord) and Richard Boothby (viola da gamba), dedicated to the unbounded exploration of ‘historical’ instruments in the context of 21st- century music-making through the creation of a new and experimental repertoire. He is also exploring a contemporary incarnation of the one-keyed flute completely developed and completely redesigned by Canadian maker Jean-François Beaudin. Edward Cowie is one of the first composers to contribute to Trio Aporia’s unfolding project.
2004 saw the completion of Preston’s PhD research project into birdsong as a model for new techniques and improvisation with the baroque flute, which he undertook with Edward Cowie. This led to his developing Ecosonics – an approach to improvisation based on birdsong and biophonic communication – and the formation of the Ecosonic Ensemble which, with cellist/composer Thomas Gardner became the electro-acoustic collective, Automatic Writing Circle.
For many years prior to this Stephen’s flute- playing career took a background role while he pursued a passionate interest in dance and choreography. During this period he formed two dance companies, the first to explore historical dance and the second to investigate the historical and contemporary dancing body. Stephen’s contributions to flute playing were recognized in 2006 with a Lifetime Achievement Award bestowed on him by America’s National Flute Association. He teaches at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester and Trinity Laban College of Music & Dance, London.

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