In the 2013-14 season, Stephen Porter’s playing is called “a transcendent experience” by
New York Arts. His New York recital this spring in the House of the Redeemer’s Italian Renaissance Library entitled “Late Style” contained final masterpieces by Debussy, Chopin, Beethoven and Schubert. (click here) The press has called his performances of Schubert's last piano sonata “superb” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch), “extraordinary...compelling and moving” (Berkshire Review), and “a revelation...disturbingly beautiful” (Early Music America).
Mr. Porter’s solo appearances in the past season include Cité des Arts in Paris, the Sala Villa-Lobos in Rio de Janeiro, Harvard University, the Boston Early Music Festival, the Composer’s Voice concert series in New York City, and Sarajevo as the featured soloist of the 8th Bosnia International Music Festival. In 2012 he was named artist-resident of the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, and invited to perform the music of Claude Debussy for the composer’s 150th birthday year. His complete Piano Preludes of Debussy in Paris, Sarajevo and the United States were critically acclaimed as “masterful...everything is graceful and appropriate” (Boston Musical Intelligencer), which led to an invitation to Washington D.C. to be the featured guest on National Public Radio’s “Diane Rehm Show.”
He has given recitals at Albert Long Hall in Istanbul, the Rockefeller Foundation on Lake Como, and appeared at LSO St. Luke’s as guest soloist with the Amadeus Orchestra of London. Stephen Porter premieres the works of many contemporary composers both here and abroad, most recently the Andrew List Second Piano Sonata and Caio Senna’s “Testamento” in Paris, and new works dedicated to him by 15 contemporary composers entitled “Re-Imagining Debussy” at Harvard University and in New York City. This year he recorded the music of Toni Lester with bass-baritone Dashon Burton (2014 Grammy Award Winner for his work with
Roomful of Teeth). U.S. recitals include Bard College/Simon’s Rock, Christ Church Cathedral in St. Louis, Amherst College Buckley Recital Hall, the Nantucket Atheneum, the Frederick Historic Piano Collection, and Harvard Sanders Theatre. Steinway & Sons selected him to give five concerts as part of the Legendary Instruments of the Immortals Tour, as well as to present the unique Walden Woods Concert Grand and give lecture-recitals on the Horowitz piano.
His many chamber music activities include performances with members of the St. Louis Symphony, and with concertmaster David Halen at the invitation of the Missouri Fine Arts Academy. He is a frequent collaborator with acclaimed mezzo-soprano Krista River, and their recitals include works by Ned Rorem and John Harbison, coached by the composers. He has just recorded a disc with Ms. River of Grieg’s “Haugtussa,” six lyric pieces, and Schumann’s “Frauenliebe und leben.” Other recent chamber music appearances of note include the Brahms Piano Quintet in Fort Lauderdale with the principals of the South Florida Symphony, a commemorative concert of the Charles Ives Piano Trio at the composer’s alma mater the Hopkins School in New Haven, and the remarkable first piano part for the original version of Rossini’s “Petite Messe Solennelle” at the Merrimack College Rogers Center for the Arts. Mr. Porter’s several recitals at the Frederick Collection, including an interview regarding his performance of the final three Beethoven Sonatas on an original instrument, have been recorded live for broadcast on National Public Radio. He has also recorded the final three Schubert sonatas, Moments Musicaux and an original song transcription on the Frederick Collection’s 1828 Viennese Graf.
Stephen Porter is a graduate of Oberlin College magna cum laude, and the New England Conservatory of Music in Piano Performance with Distinction. His teachers were Peter Takacs, Jacob Maxin and Paul Doguereau. He was privileged to study with Mr. Doguereau, who had received the Premier Prix at the Paris Conservatory as a student of Marguerite Long, played for Debussy’s wife Emma Bardac in the years just following the composer’s death, and was a protégé of Ravel (whom he accompanied on the 1928 tour of the United States). Mr. Porter has judged national and international piano competitions and given masterclasses at many schools, including Washington University, Boston University, New England Conservatory and the Longy School of Music. He has been on the piano faculties of Webster University, Phillips Andover Academy, and the chamber music faculty of the Boston University Tanglewood Institute. Stephen Porter is a past winner of the prestigious Artist Presentation Society auditions.