Bio

Trevor Stephenson was born in 1959 in Kansas City, Missouri. He began piano studies at age ten, and at twelve decided upon a life in music. Following degrees in piano performance from the University of Missouri and University of Illinois, he received a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Historical Performance of Eighteenth-Century Music from Cornell University. In 1990 he moved to Madison, Wisconsin, where, with Norman Sheppard, he began rebuilding and customizing a series of keyboard instruments ranging from Italian Renaissance harpsichords to Victorian pianos. In 1994 he founded the Light & Shadow concert and recording company in 1994 and has issued twelve recordings on that label. Since 2004 he has also served as harpsichordist and Artistic Director of the Madison Bach Musicians. He tours throughout the United States regularly giving concerts, lectures, and masterclasses.

Trevor lives in Madison with his wife Rose and daughter Emily—and their adorable cat, Charlie!

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Until I was in my early twenties I had always played everything on the modern piano. But then—as a graduate student at the University of Illinois—I heard, for the first time in my life, Mozart’s music played on a fortepiano. Mozart’s effervescence, wit, and theatrical directness came shining through in ways which I found to be beyond the scope of the modern piano; things changed for me in a dramatic fashion. I began playing fortepiano a great deal and went to Cornell University to study fortepiano with Malcolm Bilson and to earn a Doctor of Musical Arts in historical performance of 18th-century music. After moving to Madison, Wisconsin in 1990, I began to investigate ways in which historical temperaments helped bring the music of the past into keener relief. The next avenues to be explored were the wondrous tonal expanses of the harpsichord, followed by the soulfulness and dark, sonorous, veil of the nineteenth century piano. My colleague, Norman Sheppard, and I began building and customizing a series of historical instruments and I also began studying and cultivating methods of capturing the sounds of these instruments and performances in recordings. The project grew from the belief that the greater the control of the entire production process—from first idea to performance night, or CD in hand—the greater the potential for the final product to be a truly artistic statement. I have attempted to integrate to a high degree the diverse disciplines of performance style, instrument construction, tuning, musicological scholarship, and sound engineering. The result is a vital classical music—a true outgrowth of the past—offering listeners a genuinely modern sensibility. It is my pleasure to present these performances and recordings.

–Trevor Stephenson