steven devine

conductor & keyboard

biography

Steven Devine combines a career as a harpsichordist  and fortepianist with directing and conducting orchestral, choral and opera repertoire. He is Conductor and Artistic Advisor of The English Haydn Festival; Music Director of New Chamber Opera, Oxford; Director of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment’s “Bach the Universe & Everything” series and Artistic Advisor of the York Early Music Festival. 

Recent career highlights include the complete Bach 48 Preludes and Fugues from the Well-Tempered Clavier for the York Early Music Festival, Bach’s Goldberg Variations at King’s Place, London C.P.E. Bach Harpsichord Concerto in C minor with The Mozartists directing Mozart Piano Concerto No 23 with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment from the fortepiano, and conducting Galuppi La Diavolessa for New Chamber Opera, Oxford. 

Devine’s opera repertoire includes Orlando, Tamerlano, Il Mondo della luna, La Finta Semplice, Il Re Pastore, Il Comte Ory, Cavalli Erismena, Stradella Il Trespolo Tutore, Arne Artaxerxes, Galuppi Il Mondo Reverso and Salieri Falstaff. He directed a recording of Dido & Aeneas with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Sarah Connolly in the title role. 

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Conducting and directing from the keyboard Devine has led performances with Opera Restor’d and at the Dartington International Festival as well as with the Academy of Ancient Music, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the English Haydn Orchestra, Trondheim Barokk; Norwegian Wind Ensemble, Victoria Baroque Players, British Columbia; Arion Baroque Ensemble, Montreal; the Academie d’Ambronay, the Mozart Festival Orchestra and St Paul’s Chamber Orchestra.

He was Director of Opera Restor’d from 2002-2010 and Kurator and Conductor of the Norwegian Wind Ensemble from 2016-2018. He is a member of electronic music group The Art of Moog performing Bach on synthesizers.

Devine’s plans include Beethoven and Haydn with the English Haydn Festival Orchestra; Purcell, Blow and Drahgi with the OAE in London and Oslo plus Handel Aci, Galatea and Polifemo with the group as well as Bach Christmas Oratorio in Norway.

September 2021

Steven Devine is represented for General Management. For all enquiries please contact Caroline Phillips cphillips@caroline-phillips.co.uk

reviews

Con Arte e Maestria: Virtuoso violin ornamentation from the dawn of the Italian Baroque – Resonus

Steven Devine captures the coldness of pew and shiver of sin in an intelligently paced argument. Indeed, all of Devine’s solo offerings here are marvellous. His harpsichord realisations, seasoned with the subtlest wriggle of dance, are every period violinist’s dream.

Gramophone, October 2021

The Mozartists at Cadogan Hall

Steven Devine is one of our finest harpsichord players around at the moment … Devine’s cadenza here was most impressive. A fabulous performance, as bright as a button…. A triumphant performance.”

Seen and Heard International, 11 July 2021

Galuppi – La Diavolessa – Soloists of New Chamber Opera and The Band of Instruments

The Band of Instruments are led in their enthusiastic performance by Steven Devine, who alone accompanies the secco recitatives from the harpsichord, and then conducts the arias with much rhythmic alacrity.

Seen and Heard International, 4 July 2021

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Das Wohltemperierte Klavier vol. 2 –  Resonus

I said in reviewing the first volume that Devine’s ‘has a particular seemingly effortless grace, and it’s the one of all I’ve heard in the past ten years that I am happiest to live with.’ Volume 2 confirms this judgement, and the ‘effortless grace‘ – which of course is the result of much hard work and study, and is the very opposite to those recordings which make you sit up and take notice of the player’s ability (rather than the composer’s)… Stellar performances like this one come I suspect from those who are born teachers too: Devine’s pupils are hugely lucky… the listener looking to understand Devine’s subtle approach to rhythmic articulation should listen to the swinging inégales of the Prelude in D (CD 1, track 9) or to the Fugue in D minor (CD 1, track 12). His ornaments and passagework are equally unmechanical and have that degree of fluidity that shows how well he is in command of the music.

Early Music Review, 2021

Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment – Dido & Aeneas –Chaconne

more passionate, a bit darker again, and an even wider emotional range is Kenny & Devine’s 2009 recording with Sarah Connolly as Dido and Gerald Finley as Aeneas and this is my overall recommendation.

Recommended Recording. BBC Radio 3 “Building a library”, 30 November 2019

Das Wohltemperierte Klavier vol. 1 –  Resonus

A superb recording. Very highly recommended. *****

Choir and Organ, 9 November 2019

This is an altogether delightful pair of CDs, and makes me impatient for the second part. There are other recordings about, including Colin Booth’s own, but Devine’s has a particular seemingly effortless grace, and it’s the one of all I’ve heard in the past ten years that I am happiest to live with.

Early Music Review, 31 July 2019

This musically intelligent and absorbing recording by Steven Devine

Early Music Reviews, 26 May 2019

…to the endless possibilities of Bach’s preludes and fugues, he brings many insights. Notable is his flawless, but rarely flashy, technique: lines are sharp as cut-glass and finely-weighted, ornaments are spruce and discreet. There are fleeting moments of fiery virtuosity, such as the C minor, G major, and B flat major Preludes – works whose improvisatory abandon was inspired by the Italian stylus fantasticus. But generally Devine’s approach is rather more sober, informed by a scholastic rigour – as, indeed, are his excellent disc liner notes. Tempos are on the whole measured, and his pensive (but never ponderous) manner suits Bach’s more reflective works: the visionary B minor fugue comes off particularly well.

BBC Music Magazine (p94), 15 May 2019

Devine’s readings are flowing and logical, with variety brought to the entire set first and foremost by his extraordinarily sensitive articulation. In the more toccata-like preludes, his subtly applied tenuto touch keeps things crisp and moving, without monotony. His acute sense of the singing line clarifies even the most complex textures.

Gramophone, 20 May 2019

Thoughtful and measured, poetic and precise, Steven Devine takes a measured but crisply fluid approach that imbues this much recorded music with a pleasing immediacy.

Classical Ear, 30 April 2019

The harpsichord is beautifully captured, with a fine resonance and good core sound to the note and none of the pecking which can beset harpsichord recordings. He clearly revels in the various keys and allows them to colour his performances, and the result is engaging and engrossing. I certainly look forward to the second volume.

Planet Hughill, 8 April 2019

BBC National Orchestra of Wales – Easter Oratorio

He proved to be an inspired substitute, directing a performance full of vigour and forward movement and some excellent singing.

Church Times, 3 May 2019

The Mozartists – Mozart in London : J C Bach Harpsichord Concerto in D Major Op 1 No. 6

The Mozartists’ keyboardist Steven Devine finds much to stimulate but nothing to overextend his abilities in Bach’s Harpsichord Concerto in D major (Op. 1, No. 6). He dispatches Bach’s spirited writing in the outer Allegro assai and Allegro moderato movements with abundant virtuosity, but it is his playing of the central Andante that dazzles, the nobility of his phrasing reminding the listener of the expressivity of which the harpsichord is capable when handled by a true master of its sounds.

Voix des Arts, 23 December 2018

Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment – Bach Christmas Oratorio

this performance was balm to the spirit on an otherwise dark night…Under the direction of Steven Devine at the chamber organ, OAE’s playing had both the bright uplift with brilliant trumpets and timpani and the characteristic dancing lightness of strings.

The Guardian, 20 December 2018

one cannot ignore the immensely intelligent and impeccably placed keyboard continuo work of Steven Devine.

International Record Review, January 2012

news

Steven Devine presents Inside Music

Conductor and keyboard player Steven Devine presents Inside Music on BBC Radio 3 on Saturday October 16 at 13:00. The programme will be available on BBC Sounds for 30 days after broadcast Devine shares a range of musical choices from the unique Brazilian-jazz-ballet...

Restoration with Brookshaw, Devine and the OAE

Soprano Zoë Brookshaw joins the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment directed by Steven Devine for a programme of music from the Restoration period which includes Purcell and Blow alongside Giovanni Battista Draghi and Louis Grabu. There are performances at King’s...

In Tune with Steven Devine

Conductor and harpsichordist Steven Devine joins host Sean Rafferty on BBC Radio 3’s In Tune on July 5 talking about his varied career. He appears with The Mozartists at Cadogan Hall, London on July 8 playing CPE Bach Harpsichord Concerto in C Minor and will be joined...

Steven Devine conducts rare opera buffa

Baldassare Galuppi 1706-1785 Steven Devine conducts a rare production of Baldassare Galuppi’s La Diavolezza with New Chamber Opera in Oxford on July 3, 6, 7, 9 & 10. First performed in Venice in 1755 Galuppi and librettist Carlo Goldoni fashioned one of the...

Steven Devine live stream with the AAM

Steve Devine, director and harpsichord, joins members of the Academy of Ancient Music, Bojan Čičić, violin and mezzo Helen Charlston for a programme of Strozzi, Monteverdi and Dario Castello. The event will be live-streamed on April 14 from West Road Concert Hall,...

Bach, the Universe and Everything but an audience

In the latest of the acclaimed Bach cantata series Steven Devine directs the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment from an empty King’s Place, London with a programme including BWV 39 Brich dem Hungrigen dein Brot. He is joined by Rising Stars of the Enlightenment...

Bethany Horak-Hallet online with the OAE

Steven Devine directs and Bethany Horak-Hallet is alto soloist for Bach cantata BWV 87 Bisher habt ihr nichts gebeten in meinem Namen, the latest installment of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment's Bach, the Universe and Everything series. Join them online on...

Buxtehude At Home with Steven Devine & In Tune

Harpsichord and conductor player Steven Devine will contribute to the Radio 3 Home Sessions playing Buxtehude: Prelude and Fugue in G minor, BuxWV 163. Hear his interview with presenter Katie Derham on on BBC Radio 3 In Tune at 18:20 on April 28. The programme is...

Bach behind closed doors

Join conductor Steven Devine and soprano Zoe Brookshaw for the latest in the Bach, the Universe and Everything series with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment at 11:30BST on April 5 on Youtube link: https://youtu.be/EptO4p-ynQk.

Steven Devine Bach streaming sensation

It's an ill wind ... The video stream of Steven Devine playing Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier Book 1 live from the National Centre For Early Music  "behind closed doors" on 21st March has already been viewed over 66,000 times. The remaining preludes and fugues are...