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BIOGRAPHY

Recognised as one of today's leading Britten experts as a result of his collaboration with the composer, Steuart Bedford has conducted the composer’s operas in the most important houses, including the world premiere of Death in Venice.

Highlights of last season include an innovative production of Peter Grimes at the Aldeburgh Festival which was released in cinemas and on CD, for which Bedford’s conducting has gathered considerable acclaim; the CD has been nominated for a BBC Music Magazine Award, an International Opera Award and a South Bank Sky Arts Award. Other highlights include The Magic Flute for Chicago Opera Theatre, A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Garsington Opera, a new production of Death in Venice with the Canadian Opera Company, Die Enführung aus dem Serail for Opéra de Rennes and Linda di Chamounix for Opéra de Toulon.

Highlights for the 2013/14 season and beyond include a performance of Albert Herring with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican Centre, Don Giovanni at Vancouver Opera, Death in Venice at Garsington Opera, and he returns to collaborate with the Royal Academy of Music in a production of The Rape of Lucretia. In the summer of 2014, he also conducts The Turn of the Screw in the first ever Britten opera presented by Opera Holland Park.

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REVIEWS

“Conductor Steuart Bedford’s musical conception of the piece stressed a beautiful, mellifluous orchestral sound and a refined approach to this miraculous music. Tempos were leisurely but sure-footed, and the orchestra responded with polished, sophisticated playing.” (David Gordon Duke, Vancouver Sun, March 2014)

“The players did [Albert Herring] handsome justice under Steuart Bedford, whose affinity with his former mentor's music was obvious in his perfectly judged pacing.” (Erica Jeal, The Guardian, November 2013)

“The sheer precision in every page of the score leaves one astonished, doubly so given that the opera is being performed 'live'." (Roger Pines, International Record Review, November 2013)

“The sense of community in this performance is palpable, thanks above all to the conductor, a close associate of the composer and one of his most passionate advocates. He gets amazing playing from the Britten-Pears Orchestra and his carefully chosen cast — all seasoned Brittenites — work together as a team to create a wonderful ensemble.” (Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times, August 2013)

“Conductor Steuart Bedford created bewitchment with the musical ironies of Act Two and with the delicate interplay of textures which pervade the work as a whole.” (Michael Church, The Independent, June 2013)

“Steuart Bedford, who worked closely with Britten as a conductor at the end of the composer’s life, led a performance as thoughtful as it was dramatic”. (Richard Fariman, Financial Times, June 2013)

“The baton is in the capable hands of British conductor Steuart Bedford, who drew fine playing from the chamber orchestra and good singing from the chorus... The judicious pacing and sense of refinement that have long served him in the Benjamin Britten operas did so in Mozart as well.” (John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune, September 2012)
 
“[The Turn of The Screw] left my stomach in knots thanks to conductor Steuart Bedford, a longtime Britten specialist who showed that the key to the piece’s viability lies in the orchestra pit.” (David Patrick Stearns, WQXR, New York, February 2013)

"Under Bedford’s baton, the COC orchestra gave an evocative reading of Britten’s atonal and 12 tone music…My only regret with this production is I wished there were a video screen somewhere where you could see the actions in the pit." (La Scena Musicale, October 2010)

"Conductor Steuart Bedford, who helmed the opera’s 1973 premiere, brings out all the shimmering colours and shadows in Britten’s score, which can turn voluptuous or menacing in a heartbeat. The COC orchestra has seldom sounded more alive or spontaneous. " (Now Magazine, October 2010)

"Bedford’s reading of the score extracts the full power of this modern music with gentle contours. He teases out the lyrical, while never letting us forget that there are dark emotional and physical undercurrents from the moment the stage lights go up." (Toronto Star, October 2010)

“Bedford’s conducting was exacting and elucidating… Britten didn’t waste a note, and Bedford let none escape notice.” (Los Angeles Times, April 2009)

“An ideal Peter Grimes.” (San Diego Union-Tribune, April 2009)

“Conducting Britten’s ravishingly beautiful and vibrant score was British conductor Steuart Bedford, a long-time acquaintance of the composer and a leading expert in performance of his works.” (San Diego Community Newspaper Group, April 2009)

“Another coup was securing the authoritative services of Steuart Bedford, a longtime Britten associate who had conducted the world stage premiere… The British maestro secured glowingly atmospheric playing from a fine 15-member instrumental ensemble.” (Chicago Tribune, May 2009)

“The orchestral and vocal delivery, under the astute direction of Conductor Steuart Bedford, was magnificent.” (SteadStyleChicago.com, May 2009)

“A highly successful and passionate performance. Bedford led a lively reading of the score, bringing out nuances of the composer’s orchestration often lost on other conductors.” (ConcertoNet.com, May 2009)