Active in both Southern California and the Bay Area, Stephen keeps busy performing as a marimba soloist, teaching eager music students, coaching marching bands and drum corps, gigging as a percussionist, and developing new repertoire in a variety of genres for the marimba.
No matter the activity, Stephen has a deep love of music and art in all forms and works hard to share it passionately with the world.
Since he first started learning the drums, Stephen was always fascinated with how rapidly the percussion world grows - there seemed to be endless possibilities. Now, he contributes to that growth with his arrangements, compositions, writings, and inventions. Some of those contributions are available for purchase in the online store.
Beginning his musical training in Chicago on the piano at the age of five, Stephen began playing percussion in the sixth grade. During high school in Southern California, he had his first experiences with orchestral percussion, began taking private percussion lessons from an inspiring teacher, and joined Drum Corps International. In drum corps he worked over four years with the Santa Clara Vanguard, Phantom Regiment, and Pacific Crest, and received both the Fred Sanford Best Percussion Section award and the first prize in the DCI Solo Marimba Competition.
Stephen went on to receive his bacherlors degree at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where he studied mainly with She-e Wu. During his time at Northwestern, he performed as a featured soloist with the NU Percussion Ensemble on several occasions, recorded an album with Mallory Thompson and the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, collaborated with artists like So Percussion and Andy Narell, and had countless other rewarding experiences. During this period, he also took part in several solo marimba competitions around the globe. Most notably, he was awarded first prize the Percussive Arts Society International Marimba Solo Competition in 2012 and was a finalist in the 2012 Southern California Marimba Competition.
Recently, Stephen completed his graduate studies with Jack van Geem at the San Francisco Conservatory. While getting his masters degree he had the pleasure of performing the music of John Cage at the opening of the San Francisco Symphony's acclaimed SoundBox performance space with Michael Tilson Thomas and performing Reich's Drumming with Steve Schick and the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players. While at the conservatory, Stephen developed a deep enthusiasm for music theory and history through his studies with the likes of Scott Fogelsong and Corey Jamason - two of the school's many inspiring professors.
After living in the Bay Area for almost three years, Stephen recently returned to Southern California, where he is excited to share his art in the area where he spent his formative high school years. He is busy preparing for some Southern California performances and finishing up some exciting projects before he moves to Berlin, Germany this Summer!
My first experience with percussion was when I was starting at a new school in Oak Park, Illinois, at the age of 11. I'd been learning piano for six years, but I wanted to join the middle school band class, so I decided to try the drums. Unbeknownst to me at the time, that was the perfect choice! -- Stephen