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Stephen Bell (Conductor, French Horn)

Born: Bury, Lancashire, England

The English conductor and French horn player, Stephen Bell, studied conducting at the Royal College of Music under the renowned conductor Norman Del Mar, before taking up the position of Principal French horn with the BBC Concert Orchestra.

Stephen Bell is also a founder member of Britten Sinfonia and solo horn with the Haffner Wind Ensemble of London, with whom he has made several recordings for BBC Radio and commercial release together with successful tours to the USA, Scandinavia and throughout the UK including festival appearences at Cheltenham, Aldeburgh, the BBC Proms and a critically acclaimed debut in New York. He has also appeared as soloists with many of the UK's leading orchestras (including Northern Sinfonia, BBC Concert Orchestra and English Symphony Orchestra) and has peformed Benjamin Britten's Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings with numerous tenors and the Britten Sinfonia in concerts and broadcasts. He also plays guest principal horn with major UK orchestras including the London Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra and London Philharmonic Orchestra.

In recent years, Stephen Bell has found himself increasingly in demand as a conductor for a wide variety of leading orchestras whom he now regularly conducts, including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, Hallé Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia, Ulster Orchestra, Guildford Philharmonic, Brighton Philharmonic, London Gala Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, London Concert Orchestra, Manchester Concert Orchestra, Southbank Sinfonia and Elgar Chamber Orchestra. A busy conducting schedule now affords Stephen the opportunity to conduct a diverse repertoire both at home and abroad, in venues such as Istanbul, Athens, Toronto and London.

Stephen Bell’s trademark presentation of concerts demonstrates an extraordinary aptitude for communication with audiences of all genres, which has led to exciting conducting projects with an eclectic range of artists, including instrumentalists Guy Johnston, Stephen Hough, Roger Chase, David Childs, David Pyatt, the Lindsay String Quartet, Tamsin Waley Cohen, Masa Tayama, Vilde Frang, Thomas Gould, Murray McLachlan, Andrew Nicholson, Alexander Somov, John Scott, Mark Simpson, Leland Chen, Clio Gould, Jonathan Plowright, Evelyn Chang and singers Hayley Westenra, Katie Melua, Tony Hadley, G4, the BBC Singers, Mark Wilde, Nicola-Jane Kemp, Chris de Burgh, Sian Cothi, Andy Abraham, Lynton Atkinson, Aled Jones, All Angels, Blake, Janis Kelly, Brian Kennedy, The Celtic Tenors, Bibi Heal, The OperaBabes, Ray Quinn, Alfie Boe, Teatro, Camilla Roberts, Bonaventura Bottone, Susan Bullock, Alison Buchanan, Naomi Harvey, Rachel Nicholls, Juliet Pochin, Fiona Hammacott, Tom McVeigh, Pamela Hay, Will Martin and Victoria Hart. Some past seasons’ highlights include the Queen’s Jubilee Concert at Chatsworth House, the Royal Festival Hall tribute concert for Stanley Black, the Westminster Abbey Memorial Concert for Alastair Cooke and the award-winning Pitch Perfect at Wembley for BBC television’s Children in Need. 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2009 saw Stephen conducting the televised BBC Proms in the Park in Manchester and Salford with the BBC Philharmonic and the 2008 Doctor Who Prom marked Stephen’s hugely successful Royal Albert Hall Proms debut.

Stephen Bell’s discography includes critically acclaimed CD’s on the ASV, Naxos and Dutton labels. He released his first disc with the Elgar Chamber Orchestra, for Sanctuary Classics, of which critic Ivan March wrote in the international magazine, The Gramophone, ‘Stephen Bell’s accompaniments with the excellent Elgar Chamber Orchestra could not be more polished...’ His most recent discs have echoed this initial success, including two with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, featuring the instrumental works of the English composer Roderick Elms. 2009 saw the release of a Dutton CD featuring Roger Chase performing three world premieres. He also has extensive broadcasting experience, frequently conducting orchestras such as the BBC Concert Orchestra, Hallé Orchestra and Ulster Orchestra for BBC Radio, Classic FM and BBC television, for programmes such as the well-loved Friday Night is Music Night and BBC Children in Need.

The 2008-2009 season included a series of 12 concerts with the London Gala Orchestra including guests Alfie Boe, Hayley Westenra, All Angels, Paul Potts and Teatro and further engagements with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra, Brighton Philharmonic, Guildford Philharmonic and Hallé Orchestra. The 2009-2010 season included further engagements with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Brighton Philharmonic, London Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Guildford Philharmonic and Hallé Orchestra.

Source: Stephen Bell Website (2009-2010); Britten Sinfonia Website (2008-2009)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (November 2010)

Recordings of Arrangements/Transcriptions of Bach’s Works




Stephen Bell


Bach-R. Elms: Back to Bach, based on selections from Cantatas BWV 29, BWV 156 & Fugue in G major ("Jig"), BWV 577, arranged for for orchestra and piano [w/ pianist Roderick Elms]
Bach-R. Elms: Selections from Cantatas BWV 140 & BWV 208, arranged for orchestra with 2 French horns & chamber organ

Links to other Sites

Stephen Bell (Official Website)

Stephen Bell (Britten Sinfonia)

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