B i o g r a p h y
Delia Stevens is a percussionist at the forefront of her generation: a pioneer of future-facing ideas, visionary of sound and generous collaborator with “burning chops and a cosmic imagination”.
"percussion from Delia Stevens, whose thoughtful, insistent playing is crucial”
"first-rate musicians..exhilarating..there deserves to be a special mention for percussionist Delia Stevens"
Coming up in 2023:
New duo with triple BBC Folk Musician of the Year harmonica virtuoso Will Pound: reinventing the folk music of classical composers
BBC Radio 3: curator and presenter - 3-part series Music and Machines
1. Music Inspired by Machines
2. Music Made Alongside Machines
3. Music Made by Machines
Co-Artistic Director with Simmy Singh and Sinfonia Cymru - Vivaldi The Four Seasons: a creative reimagination
Steve Reich: Double Sextet
John Cage: Seven Instruments
Composing For..Percussion: collaborating with emerging composers to develop and premiere six percussion pieces
Portico Quartet - hang drum: Colours of Ostrava Festival (Czech Republic)
Hebden Bridge Arts Festival: Bodies of Water - Artistic Director in her hometown playing a local dam as a gigantic percussion instrument with local wild swimmers to highlight the corporate sewage disposal into the UK’s public waters
Propellor Ensemble (Jack McNeill)
FLIGHT - soundscape ecology (the sound of climate change with ornithologist Mark Cocker, electronic musician Leafcutter John and sound designer Linda O’Keefe)
NESS - author Robert MacFarlane & illustrator Stanley Donwood
Maddy Prior & the Carnival Band UK tour (December): guest percussionist
2022 also saw Delia as Artist-in-Residence at Leeds University to mark the opening of the Bragg Centre for Materials Research Building. She curated a concert series - including commissioning Damien Harron, Oscar Escudero and Will Pound - featuring percussion in tandem with their science research (metals, multiscale modeling and the ethics of algorithms in big tech). This invitation follows on from Delia launching ConunDrums in 2021 as Artistic Director: a "counter-concert" series embedded in conversation with audiences and experts; the debut concert "AlgoRhythms" explores the impact of big data and tech in our lives, premiering as part of the Sage Gateshead Artist in Residence Programme.
2022 highlights included being appointed an Associate Artist of the Royal Northern College of Music, playing hang drum with the Portico Quartet at the Barbican, an invitation as guest artist (Aurora Percussion Duo) to the Ivana Bilic Summer Festival in Croatia, co-curating THE VOLCANO for Multi-Story Orchestra (Southbank Centre Queen Elizabeth Hall/Peckham’s Bold Tendencies carpark), performing 18 Musicians by Steve Reich with Manchester Camerata, the Lion King UK Tour, The Great British Bake Off recording session, BBC Singers album recording (2021 BBC Prom at the Royal Albert Hall), a TedX Talk with her band Kabantu (Sage Gateshead) and the UK launch tour of their second album Freehand.
Delia began her career as a percussion soloist, reaching the televised Category Finals of BBC Young Musician of the Year in both 2008 and 2010. She subsequently won both the Concerto and Gold Medal Competitions - making her Wigmore Hall debut - whilst studying at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. In 2016 Delia was invited to perform Avner Dorman's prolific 360° percussion concerto Frozen in Time in the Krakow Last Night of the Proms, later touring the work extensively across Germany with the Neue Lausitzer Philharmonie.
During her studies, Delia co-founded both the Aurora Percussion Duo and the world music collective Kabantu. Both ensembles have won the coveted £10,000 Royal Over-Seas League Competition, given TED-Talks and broadcast multiple times on BBC Radio 3. Performance highlights include the BBC Proms, BBC Free Thinking Festival and venues such as the Bridgewater Hall, Sage Gateshead, Cadogan Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall (Southbank Centre) and St Martin-in-the-Fields.
The Aurora Percussion Duo have enjoyed multiple tours of China including Beijing's Forbidden City Concert Hall and National Centre for the Performing Arts; 2019 saw Aurora headline the RNCM Day of Percussion evening concert. Kabantu have enjoyed collaborations with Sinfonia Cymru, the BBC Singers, tours of Switzerland and Luxembourg and appearances at major folk festivals in the UK including Warwick, Shetland, Celtic Connections, Orkney, Shrewsbury and Cambridge.
Delia was the Senior Classical Percussion and Timpani Lecturer and delivered a Reflective Practice module at the Leeds Conservatoire from 2018-2022. She tutors for the National Children’s Orchestra, National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and Aldeburgh Young Musicians. She was also a Live Music Now musician for 5 years with residencies in Alder Hey Children's Hospital cancer ward, pupil referral units and special needs schools.