Composer Profile: Stephen Main

by Jen Sper, Choral Music Specialist

Steve_Smile_HandHere at Stanton’s Sheet Music, choral composer Stephen Main first captured our attention with his original setting of the In the Bleak Midwinter text in 2006. While not yet prolific by any means – we’ve seen just seven titles from him – we’ve come to trust his name, and know that we’re in for something special! His work is consistently beautiful, with creative melodies and lush harmonic structure that simply feels good to both the singer and the listener.

Especially notable are Main’s contributions to holiday concert repertoire. In the Bleak Midwinter was featured on our Excellence in Choral Literature reading session in 2010, followed by The Darkest Midnight in December in 2013, and Blessed Be That Maid Mary and The Holly and the Ivy in 2014.

Born and raised in New York City, Mr. Main has music in his blood: his mother taught piano and his father, Tom Main, was a professional jazz trombonist with Si Zentner’s band in the 60s. As a choirboy Steve sang at St. Thomas Church Fifth Avenue under Gerre Hancock. He went on to study violin, piano, organ, theory and composition at the Choate School and then at Oberlin Conservatory. At the same time, he earned his B.A., M.A., and eventually his Ph.D. in Religious Philosophy from the University of Chicago. He is currently the Music Director at Piedmont Community Church, in the Bay Area, where he composes and conducts regular choral and orchestral performances. Stephen is active as an organist, harpist and conductor, with recent appearances in San Francisco, throughout Northern California, New York, Cincinnati and Los Angeles. He lives in San Francisco and LA.

As a composer, Steve’s work has included the recent publication of new choral and symphonic works, multiple commissions, and the completion of the scores for several films. He is a First Prize Winner of the John Ness Beck award for a new American choral work, and a 2007 winner of the American Composers Forum carol contest. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune hailed Stephen’s work as “evocative” music that “captures mystery.”

For more information about Stephen Main and his music, please visit his website.

Stanton’s Recommends: Blessed Be That Maid Mary, The Darkest Midnight in December, The Heavenly Table, In the Bleak Mid-Winter

About the Author:
Jen has been with Stanton’s since 2006. An active choral singer and accompanist throughout the Central Ohio area, she also enjoys eating good food, running (to counteract the good food…) and the Muppets.

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Categories: Church Choral, Composers, New Publications, School Choral, Staff Picks

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