“Welsh composer Stephen Goss draws on a variety of sources for his eminently listenable music. Despite the eclectic nature of his influences, which range from Beethoven’s late piano music to the films of former Python Terry Gilliam, Goss’s musical language comes across as brilliantly integrated.”
- International Record Review
Stephen Goss’s music receives hundreds of performances worldwide each year and has been recorded on over 70 CDs by more than a dozen record labels, including EMI, Decca, Telarc, Virgin Classics, Naxos, and Deutsche Grammophon. His varied output includes orchestral and choral works, chamber music, and solo pieces.
Recent work includes several projects with the guitarist John Williams, who has recorded and toured Steve’s Guitar Concerto wiith the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Describing the concerto in an interview for Soundboard, Williams said ‘I don’t know of any guitar concerto which is as consistently successful on all fronts’.
Steve’s use of quotations and references helps to shape his musical language, which is characterised by abrupt stylistic gear changes. ‘Goss weaves together an eclectic range of influences – at once retrospective and forward-looking’. (BBC Music Magazine). His fascination with the continuum that lies between transcription and composition has led Jonathan Leathwood to propose that Steve ‘denies traditional expectations of originality’ and that ‘the listener is drawn into a maze of referents’.
Steve’s music has been performed by many of the world’s leading orchestras including: The Russian National Orchestra (under Mikhail Pletnev), The China National Symphony Orchestra, The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, The State Symphony Orchestra ‘New Russia’, The RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, The Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra, The Scottish Chamber Orchestra, and the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra. In his role as composer-in-residence for the Orpheus Sinfonia, Steve wrote the Piano Concerto, (released by Signum Classics in 2013), and the Concerto for Five (for the unique combination of violin, saxophone, cello, bass, piano and orchestra). Steve’s Albéniz Concerto for guitar and orchestra was released to great critical acclaim on EMI Classics in 2010. A Concerto of Colours, for guitar and wind ensemble, was commissioned by a consortium of 13 American wind orchestras in 2017.
Other commissions have come from: guitarists David Russell, Xuefei Yang, Zoran Dukić, and Miloš Karadaglić, cellist Natalie Clein, flutist William Bennett, and tenor Ian Bostridge. Steve’s project with Charles Jencks, The Garden of Cosmic Speculation, was profiled on The South Bank Show, the UK’s premier Arts TV programme. Steve’s eclectic approach has led to collaborations with artists as diverse as Andrew Lloyd Webber, Alt-J, and Avi Avital.
As a guitarist, Steve has worked with many leading composers (such as Toru Takemitsu, Hans Werner Henze, Peter Maxwell Davies, and Elliott Carter) and toured and recorded extensively with the Tetra Guitar Quartet and other ensembles.
Born in 1964, Stephen Goss studied at the Royal Academy of Music (where he won the Julian Bream Prize) and the Universities of Bristol and London (where he completed his doctorate). His composition teachers included Edward Gregson, Robert Saxton, Peter Dickinson and Anthony Payne, and he studied guitar with Michael Lewin. Steve is currently Professor of Composition and Director of the International Guitar Research Centre at the University of Surrey, UK, and a Professor of Guitar at the Royal Academy of Music in London. He is an Arsenal season ticket holder.