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Biography

Allan Stephenson, composer, was born 15 December 1949 in Wallasey, Cheshire, England,
United Kingdom. He began piano lessons at age 7. When he was 13, some
old cellos were found in a store room at his school, and he took up the
instrument. A year later he became a cellist in the Merseyside Youth
Orchestra, and he also performed chamber music with friends. At school
Stephenson also sang in the choir and learned the trombone and tuba.

Stephenson studied at the Royal Manchester College of Music from 1968 to
1972. There he composed some early works. During his final year he was
leader of the celli in the First Orchestra, and he performed in the Royal
Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and as a free-lance musician around
Manchester. Much of his learning came from radio, records and studying
scores, while the academic atmosphere helped instill musical discipline.

In 1973, Stephenson accepted a post with the Cape Town Symphony Orchestra.
In South Africa he began a successful career as composer, cellist and
conductor. His adopted country greatly inspired his music, and all of his
output as a mature composer was produced there.

Among his most enjoyable works are concerti for wind instruments,
particularly _Bassoon Concerto_, _Clarinet Concerto_, _Horn Concerto_ and
_Piccolo Concerto_. His works also include 4 quasi-programmatic overtures
inspired by various cities in South Africa: _A Cape Town Overture_, _A
Durban Overture_, _A Bloemfontein Overture_ and _A Johannesburg Overture_.

Structurally most of his works are in sonata form. He has described them
as "romantic, lyrical, exciting rhythmically, but, above all, enjoyable to
play and listen to." South African musicologist Ronald Charles has
written, "Allan Stephenson's music is unashamedly listener friendly."
However, beneath the accessible surface of his music also lies a rich vein
of deeply-felt expression. Stephenson is a composer whose music rewards
repeated hearings.

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