A hearty congratulations are in order for guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Ian Stephenson. Ian has just been announced as the new Folkestra Director which is based at Sage Gateshead, he takes over from founding director Kathryn Tickell. Ian has already worked as Assistant Director for the folk ensemble alongside Kathryn so will be no stranger to the 13 – 19 year olds that make up it’s diverse numbers. Click here to find out more about joining.
Ian rose to prominence on the folk scene after winning the BBC Young Folk Award back in 1999 with ‘422’. Since then he has played on nearly 100 albums as well as working on many others as producer.
“It’s an honour to have been given this chance to work closely with Folkestra – it’s an incredible ensemble which does a stellar job of representing traditional music and I intend to make sure it continues to be something we in the North East can really be proud of.” said Ian Stephenson.
Ian has toured extensively all over the world with many of the UK’s finest folk acts, as well as his own projects including Baltic Crossing, KAN and Andy May Trio. The latter featured in out Best Folk Music Albums of 2015 and their last release, About Time, was a Featured Album of the Month.
Folkestra is an amazing developmental opportunity and has managed to offer its members some incredible experiences through exposure at the numerous concerts and festivals they perform worldwide. They have also performed at some very high profile events which have included the London 2012 Olympics, BBC Proms and Celtic Connections; and performances alongside artists such as Sting and Andy Sheppard.
Edward Milner, Head of Music Learning at Sage Gateshead said: “We are delighted that Ian is going to take the reins of Folkestra. Ian is an extremely experienced leader and the players and all at Sage Gateshead are looking forward to some really creative work with him.”
Ian is also a talented composer who has written for an ensemble from Royal Northern Sinfonia, for Kathryn Tickell, Voices of Hope and other work further afield.
Alongside his performance career, Ian is well known and respected for his teaching work. He first began work for Sage Gateshead as a tutor for Folkworks Summer School aged only 19 and since went on to be a tutor a further 10 times, eventually becoming Director of Youth Summer School, a position he has held since 2013. He’s a regular tutor and lecturer on the Folk and Traditional Music degree at Newcastle University and was also Assistant Director of Folkestra for many years working alongside Kathryn Tickell.
You can also see Ian Stephenson perform with Andy May and Sophy Ball at Sage Gateshead on 5 March at Sage Gateshead. Click here for further details and tickets.
Photo Credit: Alistair Cassidy