The American conductor, tenor and music pedagogue, Stephen Sands, obtained his Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from Westminster Choir College of Rider University in in Princeton, New Jersey, (1994-1998); and his Master of Music degree in Music Education from Westminster Choir College of Rider University.
A GRAMMY-nominated “crystalline tenor” (Backstage) who was praised by the New York Times as “a tenor with a focused, powerful tone“ who sings with “subtlety” and “poignancy“, Stephen Sands is highly sought after as a soloist, conductor, music educator and ensemble member by some of the most prestigious institutions and conductors in the USA.
Since 2010, Stephen Sands is conductor of Downtown Voices, a semi-pro choral group that is part of the Trinity Wall Street music program, focused on bringing the best amateur and professional singers in the New York City metro area together into one choir for high level performances. He has been member and soloist with the fully professional Trinity Choir from 2000-2003 and 2010-present. Of his conducting in Benjamin Britten’s St. Nicholas, The New York Times said “In the sequences in which the adult choir sang at the front of the church, with the children’s choir in the organ loft, the conductor Stephen Sands beautifully balanced the sound and maintained order. The singers and instrumentalists had incisive, agile strength.” The 2015-2016 season will feature performances of B. Britten’s St. Nicolas, MacMillians Seven Last Words from the Cross and L.v. Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis. 2016-2017 will feature a commissioned work by Zachary Wadsworth which will examine the rich history of downtown New York City.
Stephen Sands was Youth Choir Director at St. Luke's Church in Gladstone, New Jersey (2003-2013). Since 1997, he is a founding member and Executive Director of the internationally award-winning Antioch Chamber Ensemble, widely regarded as one of the finest professional vocal ensembles in the country. He has had the pleasure of coordinating international performing tours, producing commercial recordings, and staging many self-funded performances.
Since 2010, Stephen Sands is Founder and Artistic Director of Music in the Somerset Hills, an organization dedicated to music education and performance in Bernardsville, northern New Jersey. He is also Principal Cconductor of the Somerset Hills Community Chorus. As an Artistic Director, he has successfully raised funds from both individual and institutional sources for Music in the Somerset Hills. In 2016, he will lead a concert of Music of the Movies, featuring actor Peter Dinklage and a professional orchestra of Broadway players, led by Jonathan Dinklage. In 2016-2017, Stephen will lead the Somerset Hills Community Chorus in a concert of W.A. Mozart’s Requiem and conduct a concert of George Frideric Handel’s Water Music on a lake in Far Hills, New Jersey.
In addition to a successful career as a musician and conductor, Stephen Sands is also a respected music educator. He has taught choral music to thousands of students in grades 3-12 in the Somerset Hills School District for more than 17 years (since 1998).
Stephen Sands sings as a professional tenor since 1998. Positions have included Trinity Wall Street, Vox Vocal Ensemble, Clarion Music Society, Antioch Chamber Ensemble, Fuma Sacra, Carmel Bach Festival Chorale (since July 2008), Aoede Consort, soloist specializing in the Evangelist of J.S. Bach's Passions. He has been heard as the Evangelist and tenor soloist in numerous performances of J.S. Bach’s sacred oratorios, most recently with the Trinity Choir and Baroque Orchestra in the St. John Passion (BWV 245) of J.S. Bach. As an ensemble member, he sings with the Carmel Bach Festival Chorale, Vox Vocal Ensemble, Aoede Consort, TENET, Clarion Music Society, Pomerium, and is a full time member of the Trinity Wall Street Choir under the direction of Julian Wachner. His extensive discography includes the recent releases of a CD of J.S. Bach's Motets and the Complete Haydn Masses with the Trinity Wall Street Choir. Recent releases include tenor solos in the Grammy nominated recording of G.F. Handel’s Israel and Egypt with the Choir of Trinity Wall Street, and a CD of Mannerist Motets of the Renaissance with Pomerium.