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Stephen Montague (b.10 March, 1943 Syracuse, New York) grew up in Idaho, West Virginia and Florida. He studied piano, conducting and composition at Florida State University (1963-67), received a doctorate in composition from Ohio State University (1972) and won a Fulbright Fellowship to work in Warsaw, Poland (1972-74). He first came to England as a musician with Strider Dance Co. (Richard Alston & co.), but since 1975 has worked as a freelance composer based in London and touring worldwide. His music has been widely performed, featuring in numerous international festivals, most recently at the BBC Proms (Royal Albert Hall, London), Sounds New (Canterbury), Wiener Musik Tage (Vienna), and Festival of Contemporary Music (Mexico City). Composer Portrait concerts devoted to his music have been given in London, Cambridge, New York, Houston, Mexico City, Vienna and Budapest. Major commissions include the BBC Proms, Portsmouth Cathedral (UK), Calgary Philharmonic (Canada), Hilliard Ensemble, International Computer Music Association, and a 35-minute work for narrator and orchestra for the London Symphony Orchestra (Benjamin Luxon, narrator) for the Barbican Centre, London, (with a further 14 performances by other leading British orchestras around the UK).

In addition to writing for traditional orchestral forces Montague has also written numerous more ‘experimental’ works such as his Horn Concerto for klaxon horn soloist and an orchestra of automobiles, and a concerto for piano, 8 motorcycles, brass and percussion. Although a long term UK resident, his compositional influences are often transatlantic. He comments: "I have lived in Britain since 1974 but my musical heroes remain American: I admire Charles Ives's unapologetic juxtaposition of vernacular music and the avant-garde, Henry Cowell's irreverent use of fist and arm clusters, the propulsive energy of minimalism and John Cage's radical dictum that all sound is music”.

Stephen Montague was a founder (1980) of Sonic Arts Network, Concert Director (1983-87) and Chair; Chair and Artistic Director of the SPNM (Society for the Promotion of New Music) 1993-98; Associate Composer with The Orchestra of St Johns, London (1995-97); Featured Composer: City of Oxford (1997-98); Artistic Director of Contemporary Music Making for All (2004-05); and the New Music Associate at Kettle’s Yard Gallery and Museum, Cambridge (2010-12), where he curates a monthly concert series. Internationally Montague has been a Guest Professor at the University of Texas – Austin in 1992, 1995, 2000 and the University of Auckland, New Zealand,1997. Since 2007 he has taught part time at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance (London).

Montague’s honours and awards include 1st Prize at the 1994 Bourges International Electroacoustic Music Competition (France), the Ernst von Dohnányi Citation for Excellence in Composition (1995), The Ohio State University Distinguished Alumnus Award (2000), Honorary Fellow (Hon FTCL, 2002), then Composer in Residence (2003) at Trinity College of Music, (London), and Honorary Fellow of Leeds College of Music (FLeedsCM, 2004). In 2006 his CD Southern Lament – (NMC D118) - featuring his piano works (played by Philip Mead), won the “Best New Piano Music Recording” award from International Piano magazine.

As a "virtuoso pianist" [New York Times] he has recorded for all the major European radio networks, performed at Carnegie Hall, New York City, London's Queen Elizabeth Hall and Paris's Centre Pompidou. In 1985 he formed a duo with pianist Philip Mead, Montague/Mead Piano Plus, which toured internationally. He also collaborated with the late sculptor, Maurice Agis, for over 20 years providing multi-channel electroacoustic sound environments for Agis’s giant inflatable sculptures Colourspace and Dreamspace. In his capacity as both a concert organiser and performer Montague has commissioned numerous works by leading composers which include Sir John Tavener, Michael Nyman, Frederic Rzewski and John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin).

Stephen Montague is currently working on an orchestral commission for the Birmingham Royal Ballet (David Bintley, choreographer) to be premiered in 2015, and a work for narrator and chamber ensemble for the 2014 New Music Biennale.

Compact discs of Montague’s works are available on NMC (UK), ASV (UK), Signum (UK), Continuum (NZ), Centaur (USA), Point Records (USA) and others. In addition to music he is an active cyclist, hiker and tennis player (the former Florida Junior College Tennis Champion).

(February 2014)


Click on titles with links to call up a programme note


Chinook (2010-11)
for viola and orchestra - 26'
solo viola, 2222/4231/Hp.Timp.3perc/strings
Zero at the Bone (2014)
for orchestra - 8'
3333/6542/timp/4perc/off-stage group/strings
Mephisto (2006-07)
for violin and orchestra - 6'
solo violin, 2(picc)222/0200/3perc/strings
Beyond the Stone Horizon (2006)
chamber orchestra - 20'
Intrada 1631 (2003)
brass choir (4331) & 4 drummers - c.8' (with opt. instrs. 12')
(optional additional orchestration: 3(3Picc)030/2Asax. BarSax/Org. Also 20-30 triangle players and multiple violins/violas surrounding audience)
Disparate Dances (2002)
flute & harp concerto with chamber orchestra - 20'
1222/2200, 1 perc, strings, solo flute/harp
Junk Concerto (2001-02)
chamber orchestra with 2 amateur percussion groups and solo trumpet - c. 14'
2020/solo trpt, strings and 2 amateur percussion groups
Snowscape: St. Pölten (2001)
string orchestra - c. 10'
65432 or more strings standing around the space
A Toy Symphony (1999)
chamber orchestra and six percussion soloists - 15'
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (1997)
solo piano, orchestra - 34'
2(picc)22(Eb)2/2210, 3 perc, strings
The Creatures Indoors (1997)
narrator and chamber orchestra - 35'
2(picc)2(ca)2(Eb)2/2110, 3 perc, strings
Snakebite (1995)
chamber orchestra - 14'
02(ca)01/2000, strings
Dark Sun- August, 1945 (1995)
large orchestra/chorus - 20'
written for large amateur orchestra - wind, brass, 3-part chorus, strings, percussion, 3 portable CD players - exact scoring according to available forces
From the White Edge of Phrygia (1984)
symphony orchestra - 19'
2(picc)222/4231, timpani, 3 percussion, piano, strings
Prologue (1984)
chamber orchestra - 10'
2222/4231, 4 percussion, celeste, piano and strings
At the White Edge of Phrygia (1983)
chamber orchestra - 19'
1111/1110, 2perc, pf, strings: (ampl. 11111or unampl. strings section)


Wilful Chants (2010)
SSAATTBB chorus, brass, percussion - 19'
brass 4331/2 percussionists
Requiem: The Trumpets Sounded Calling Them to the Other Side (2009)
Mz solo, SSAATB chorus, orchestra - 43'
2222/4231, harp, organ, 3 timpani, 3 off-stage percussion groups, 4 fog horns, strings
The Poison Tree (2008)
baritone, bell, piano - 3'
Chorale for the Cauldrons of Hell (2005-6)
large mixed ensemble - c.10'
'open score' for four instrumental lines, piano, perc., voices, tape
When Dreams Collide (2001-02)
narrator, SATB chorus and orchestra - 16'
2222/2230, 6 percussion, strings
I Wonder (2001)
[Christmas Carol]
solo soprano, SATB chorus, 2222/4321/timp, harp, organ, strings - 13'30"
Wild Nights (1993)
soprano, clarinet, viola, piano - 7'
The Carnal and the Crane (2001) [full orch.]
[Christmas Carol]
soprano and baritone soloists, SATB chorus , orchestra - 10' 2222/4321/timp, harp, organ, strings
The Carnal and the Crane (1998) [chamber version]
soprano and baritone soloists, SATB chorus, harp, organ, strings - 8'
Cantique de Noël (2001) [full orch.]
[Christmas Carol]
soprano and baritone soloists, SATB chorus, orchestra - 8' 2222/4321/timp, harp, organ, strings
Cantique de Noël (1996) [chamber version]
solo soprano, solo baritone, SATB chorus, harp, organ, strings - 8'
Dark Sun- August, 1945 (1995)
large orchestra/chorus - 20'
written for large amateur orchestra - wind, brass, 3-part chorus, strings, percussion, 3 portable CD players - exact scoring according to available forces
Boombox Virelai (1992)
counter-tenor, 2 tenors, bass - 9'
Tigida Pipa (1983/89)
4 amplified voices playing woodblocks and claves, and tape.
Or: 8,12,16,20 unampl. voices with woodblocks and claves played by 4 percussionists. Plus tape - 9'30"




Chorale for the Cauldrons of Hell (2005-6)
large mixed ensemble - c.10'
'open score' for four instrumental lines, piano, perc., voices, tape
Tam Linn (2004)
string quartet - 4'
Uncaged, January 2004 (2004)
graphic score for unspecified instruments or voices – free duration
The Hammer Hawk (2002)
piano and string quartet (with optional tape) - 12'
Rim Fire (2002)
4 percussionists – 4'
Deep in the Vaults of Earth (2001)
wind band and tape - 4'
Texas Pulp Fiction (2000)
3 narrators playing beer bottles and cowbells - 3'
Black 'n' Blues (2000)
piano (4 hands), marimba & pillow - 10'
Thule ultima (1999)
woodwind quintet (mouthpieces only) - 5'
Chew Chow Chatterbox (1998)
4 percussionists at dinner - 10'
Horn Concerto (1998)
klaxon horn soloist and an orchestra of automobiles - 15'
Silence: John, Yvar & Tim (1994)
prepared string quartet, prepared piano, live electronics, 2 tapes - 16'30"
String Quartet No. 2: Shaman (1994)
string quartet, live electronics and tape - 12
Behold a Pale Horse (1994)
1994 version: solo organ and brass septet: 2221 - 11'
After Ives... (1991-93) 6 movements
piano, tape (optional flute, string quartet, live electronics) - 26'
String Quartet No.1: in memoriam Barry Anderson & Tomasz Sikorski (1989-1993)
string quartet, tape, electronics - 22'
Three Temperance Songs (1988)
female voice, fl, cl, alto sax, bsn, perc, accordion, pno, optional tape: 16'
Paramell VI (1981)
piano, flute, clarinet, cello (with optional percussion part) - 8'
Eine Kleine Klangfarben Gigue (1976)
keyboard and unspecified instruments - c. 10






Solo & Duo

Mirabella for Celesta (1994/2009 arr.)
celesta - 5'
Midnight Moon (2003)
solo piano
5 Easy Pieces (2003)
solo piano
One Imperial Thunderbolt (2006)
harpsichord, prepared piano and CD track - 5'
For Merce C at the Barbican (2005)
prepared piano - 3'
2 Dirges - 3 Dances (2004)
flute and percussion - 18'
On the Silk Road East of Samarkand (2004)
cello and percussion - 4'
Almost a Lullaby (2004)
toy piano, wind chimes, fan, music box – 5'
Facing the Fire (2004)
violin and viola
Toccare Incandescent (2003)
organ – 12'
Autumn Leaves (2000-2003)
collection of 13 short pieces for solo piano - total 30'
Folk Dances (2002)
violin and piano - 9'
Philup Glass: A lullaby for wine glasses (2001)
for 2 percussionists with 4 wine glasses and a
jug of coloured water - 6'
Dark Train Comin' (2001)
harpsichord, tape - 13'30"
4 hours to Midnight: The Last piece in the 20th Century (1999)
piano - 5'
Southern Lament (1997)
piano - 17'30"
Tsunami (1997)
piano - 3'
Mira (1995)
piano - 7'30"
Mirabella - a Tarantella for Toy Piano (1994)
toy, or prepared piano - 5'
Phrygian Tucket (1994)
amplified harpsichord, tape - 13'
Aeolian Furies (1993)
accordion - 8'
Vlug (1992)
flute, tape, live electronics - 6'
Behold a Pale Horse (1990)
solo organ - 11' (also available in version with brass)
Haiku (1987)
piano, flanger, electronic tape - 13'
Tongues of Fire (1983)
piano, live electronics, tape - 22'30"
Paramell V (1981)
2 pianos - 8'
Paramell Va (1981)
piano - 8'


20 Odd Years - Music for Flute and Electronics
(Jos Zwaanenburg, flute)
Vlug for flute, tape and live electronics
FMR CD316-0711 (UK), released 2011
McDuo: Works for Flute and Percussion
(Kim McCormick, flute, Robert McCormick, percussion)
2 Dirges, 3 Dances
Revello Records (USA) RR7814, released 2011
UnCaged Toy Piano
(Phyllis Chen, toy piano)
Mirabella: a Tarantella for Toy Piano
Concert Artists Guild (NYC) W-204877, released 2010
Topology: Big Decisions
(Topology Ensemble)
Paramell VI
Serrated Records (Australia) 281008, released 2009
Out of the Blues
(Elena Riu, piano)
Nobody Knows the Troubles I've Seen (from Southern Lament)
S4 Music (UK) S4CD28002, released 2009
NMC Songbook
(Stefan Loges, baritone, Ian Burnside, piano, Owen Gunnell, percussion)
The Poison Tree
NMC (UK) D150, released 2008
Ghost Stories
(The Smith Quartet)
String Quartet No.1: in memoriam...
Signum Classics CD088, released 2007
Toccare Incandescent
(Joseph Nolan, organ)
Toccare Incandescent
Herald HAVPC329, released 2007
Southern Lament: collection of 18 piano/chamber works by Stephen Montague
(Philip Mead, piano, and ensembles)
NMC D118 (UK) released 2006. Winner of “Best New Piano Music Recording 2006” - International Piano Awards.
The Joy of Toy
(Isabel Ettenauer, toy pianos)
Almost a Lullaby
Edition Eirelav 001 (Austria), released 2005
In Sunlight
(Madeleine Mitchell, violin, Andrew Ball, piano)
Folk Dances
NMC (UK) D098, released 2005
(Elisabeth Chojnacka, harpsichord)
Phrygian Tucket
Opus 111 (France) OPS 30-293, released 2001
Snakebite: Orchestral and Choral Works by Stephen Montague
(Orchestra of St Johns Smith Square, London)
Snakebite, Varshavian Autumn, At the White Edge of Phrygia, Behold a Pale Horse
ASV (UK) CD DCA 991, released 1997
21 Marches for the 21st Century
(Norwegian Army Band)
Marche militaire
Simax Classics (Norway) PSC1163, released 2000
Aeolian Furies
(Guy Klucevsek, accordion)
Starkland label: ST-209 (Boulder, Colorado), released 2000
The Art of the Toy Piano
(Margaret Leng Tan, toy piano)
Mirabella: a Tarantella for Toy Piano
Point Music/Philips 456 345-2., released 1997
CDMC Computer Music Series Vol.25
(The Smith Quartet, Philip Mead, piano)
Silence: John, Yvar and Tim
Centaur (USA) CRC 2347, released 1997
Pick it up
(The Relâche Ensemble)
Paramell VI
Monroe Street Music (USA) MSM 60102, released 1997
ABRSM Spectrum Series
(Thalia Myers, piano)
Mira, Tsunami, Midnight Sun
NMC (UK) MSM 60102, releases 1997/98/20037
Stephen Montague: Orchestral and Chamber Music
From the White Edge of Phrygia, String Quartet No.1, Haiku, Tigida Pipa
Continuum Records (NZ) CCD 1061, released 1994
Slow Dance on a Burial Ground
Paramell I, Paramell Va
Lovely Music Label (USA) VR 2041, released 1984 (LP)

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