Stephen Hope started his musical career as a chorister in Canterbury. He became a music scholar at King’s School before going on to read music as an organ scholar at Bristol University where he specialised in keyboard performance and conducting. Since then, Stephen has had wide experience of conducting with the London Chamber Players, Northern Ballet Theatre, English Northern Philharmonia, Scottish Opera and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. He has also worked with such artists as Marilyn Hill-Smith, John Noble, Frank Edgerton, Jack Brymer, Ronald Smith, Sir Harry Secombe, Clarence Myerscough, and Roy Castle.
He also enjoys working with young people directing courses for the Royal Schools of Church Music, conducting Sutton Girls’ Choir, the Croydon Chamber Choir and the Shipway Youth Orchestra. Stephen has been musical director of the Carshalton Pantomime Company for many shows and has worked with many operatic societies south of the Thames including Bel Canto Opera who perform annually in Crawley.
His latest projects include the Sussex Festival Choir (which performs at Arundel Cathedral) and the Essex Festival Choir (which performs at Chelmsford Cathedral), the proceeds of their concerts going to the hospice movement.
Stephen has also worked as a radio presenter on CFM Radio, and as a guest on the Clive Bull Show on LBC. His own one-man show ‘Face the Music with Hope’ has been presented throughout the UK with great success.
In addition, he maintains a parallel career as an organist in his posts as Director of Music at St. John’s, Belmont, and the Streatham Liberal Synagogue, and as an accompanist and a member of the music staff at Laine Theatre Arts in Epsom.
In 1988 he created the Alkan International Piano Competition.
In 1989 and 1990, Stephen was awarded a coveted Fellowship to the Conductors’ Institute of America where he studied with a number of distinguished conductors including Morton Gould, Lukas Foss, Daniel Lewis and Harold Farberman.
In 2002, Stephen formed the Sinfonia da Chiesa and in 2003 created the Sussex Festival Choir.
In 2004, the newly formed Essex Festival Choir gave its inaugural concert in Chelmsford Cathedral.
The proceeds of concerts by both the both the Sussex Festival Choir and the Essex Festival Choir are donated to the hospice movement.
In June 2005 he undertook a concert tour with 120 singers and instrumentalists to Rome and Florence to great acclaim, receiving invitations to conduct concerts in Houston and a concert for the Pope in 2006. He regularly arranges short choir and orchestra trips abroad, to places such as Bruges, Rouen, Lille and Bavaria.
In June 2007, Stephen took the Sussex Festival Choir and the Sinfonia da Chiesa on a 5 day tour to Venice, which was very enthusiastically received.
Highlights of 2007/8 included numerous choral concerts and workshops, culminating in SFC’s 6th concert, performing Mendelssohn’s Elijah in Arundel Cathedral.