B i o g r a p h y
"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"
A pioneer of ideas, creative collaborator, percussionist, chamber musician, artistic director, curator, educator, improviser, composer, lecturer; Delia Stevens is a versatile musician at the forefront of her generation who performs across multiple genres and instruments.
2022 saw Delia as Artist-in-Residence at Leeds University to mark the opening of the Bragg Centre for Materials Research Building. She curated a tripartite of concerts featuring percussion and science research (metals, multiscale modeling, the ethics of big tech and algorithms) with the opportunity to commission composers (Damien Harron, Will Pound and Oscar Escudero) to write for her main musical projects: the Aurora Percussion Duo, Kabantu and ConunDrums.
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.
In 2022 she also played hang with the Portico Quartet at the Barbican for the UK launch of their new album: Terrains, was guest artist as part of the Aurora Percussion Duo at the Ivana Bilic Summer Festival in Croatia, co-curated "THE VOLCANO" for Multi-Story Orchestra - a percussion ensemble concert performed at Peckham's Bold Tendencies and the Southbank Centre, played marimba for the Official UK Touring production of the Lion King, performed 18 musicians with the Manchester Camerata at The Stoller Hall and premiered Propellor Ensemble's new show Flight at a climate change conference at Lancaster Arts.
In the same year, she recorded a new album with her band Kabantu - Freehand - and embarked upon a UK launch tour including a TedX Talk at the Sage Gateshead about their writing process, music for the Great British Bake Off, a BBC Singers album from their 2021 Royal Albert Hall Prom with whom she was a guest artist - as well as contemporary classical composer Neil Smith's latest album in conjunction with the eminent flautist Carla Rees.
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 Cambridge Folk 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 enjoyed collaborations with Sinfonia Cymru, the BBC Singers, a tour of Switzerland and major folk festivals in the UK including Warwick, Shetland, Celtic Connections, Orkney, Shrewsbury and Broadstairs Folk Week.
Delia is the Senior Classical Percussion and Timpani Lecturer at the Leeds Conservatoire and lectures a module on Reflective Practice as a classical musician. She is currently a tutor for the National Children’s Orchestra, National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and Aldeburgh Young Musicians.
Delia has also performed with the contemporary classical ensembles including The London Sinfonietta, Almost Credible Music, Dark Inventions and House of Bedlam and also worked as an Extra with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra. She has also performed with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Hallé Orchestra and Sinfonia Cymru. She has collaborated with pop artists Daughter, Rae Morris, James, Gaz Coombes (Supergrass), New Order, Beth Orton, Temples, Tim Burgess (The Charlatans), The Dutch Uncles and Cathal Mo Chroi (Chas Smash) from ‘Madness’ within the Joe Duddell Ensemble, performing and recording at Air Studios, The Ritz (Manchester), Festival No. 6 and Somerset House.