United States of America
Stephen Prutsman has been described as one of the most innovative musicians of his time. Moving easily from classical to jazz to world music styles as a pianist, composer and conductor, he continues to explore and seek common ground in the music of all cultures and languages. Recently he was appointed Artistic Director of the Cartagena International Festival of Music, South America's largest festival of its kind, programming and curating concerts with themes ranging from Mozart celebrations, to eclectic evenings of folk and popular music of the Americas, to hybrid programs fusing art and dance music of multiple musical dimensions.
From 2004-2007 Stephen Prutsman was Artistic Partner with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, where he conducted concertos from the keyboard, performed in chamber ensembles, conducted works of living composers, developed and arranged collaborations for their Engine 408 series of contemporary and world music, and wrote several new works for the orchestra.
In the early 90's Stephen Prutsman was a medal winner at the Tchaikovsky and Queen Elisabeth Piano Competitions, and received the Avery Fisher Career Grant. He has since performed the classical concerto repertoire as soloist with many of the world’s leading orchestras including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Symphony Orchestras of San Francisco, Baltimore, Detroit, Indianapolis, Seattle, Dallas, Houston, WDR Radio Orchestra Cologne, Prague Radio Symphony and the Orchestre National d'Île de France. His classical discography includes acclaimed recordings of the Barber and McDowell concerti with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland. Committed to chamber music, Stephen has collaborated with many of the world's great string quartets and soloists and often performs with his trio Nobilis both in major cultural centers and in diverse locales throughout the developing world. The trio has recently released a recording of the music of Tchaikovsky.
Stephen first began playing the piano by ear at age 3, before moving on to more formal music studies. In his teens and early 20s he was the keyboard player for several art rock groups including Cerberus and Vysion. He was also during those years a solo jazz pianist playing in many southern California clubs and lounges and was the music arranger for a nationally syndicated televangelist program. A former student of Aube Tzerko and Leon Fleisher, Stephen studied at the University of California at Los Angeles and the Peabody Conservatory of Music.
As a composer, Stephen's long collaboration with Grammy Award winning Kronos Quartet has resulted in over 40 arrangements and compositions for them. Other leading artists and ensembles who have performed Stephen's compositions and arrangements include Leon Fleisher, Dawn Upshaw, the St. Lawrence String Quartet, Yo-Yo Ma, Spoleto USA, and the Silk Road Project. As a pianist or arranger outside of the classical music world he has collaborated with such diverse personalities as Tom Waits, Rokia Traore, Joshua Redman, Jon Anderson of "YES", Sigur Rós and Asha Bhosle.
In years past his dedication to the creation of new musical environments led him to create music festivals in such far-flung places as the island of Guam and the border town of El Paso, Texas. Passionate about the value of music for all, Stephen is active promoting music and arts education wherever he visits, and continues to be a leader in the Cartagena Music Festival’s musical outreach program, bringing free concerts and classes to outlying areas of the city. Stephen lives in San Francisco.