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Stephen Hiscock

Assistant Lecturer in Music Performance (Drums and Percussion)


Drummer - Percussionist - Composer - Educator

Stephen is a drummer, percussionist and composer. He studied Drama at Manchester University whilst making a living as a rockabilly drummer with The Railtown Bottlers - the “European Street Entertainers of the Year” (1993). He is a founder member of one of the world’s most innovative percussion chamber groups ensemblebash. During the life of the group he has performed world premieres of works by Steve Reich, Stewart Copeland, Nitin Sawhney, Django Bates, Eric Whitacre, Imogen Heap, Keith Tippett and Tan Dun. Other collaborators include Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Evelyn Glennie, Chick Corea, Kathryn Tickell, The Hilliard Ensemble, Britten Sinfonia and the BBC Singers. The group is dedicated to commissioning new works and has developed close relationships with composers such as Graham Fitkin, John Woolrich, Stephen Montague and Howard Skempton. ensemblebash have also played at several BBC Proms and undertaken major tours in Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa. Their pioneering education work has included extensive residencies for Dartington International Summer School, SPNM's Sound Inventors, Spitalfields Festival and the Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne, Australia.

Stephen has spent several study periods in Ghana learning traditional styles of music with master musicians from the National Dance Company of Ghana and The Pan African Orchestra. His speciality is dondo and brekete drumming from the Dagomba people in the north of Ghana and he was taught by the great Ibrahim Abukari (Pan African Orchestra). Other teachers were Afadina Tsikpa and Emmanuel Osei Awuku (National Dance Company of Ghana) with whom he learnt Agbekor (war drumming), Fontomfrom (royal music of the Ashanti), Kete (funeral music) and Kpanlogo. Paulinhus Bozie is another ghanaian teacher who has generously passed on his knowledge of traditional djembe music such as Kumpo and Wali.

As a drum kit player he’s played with Aimee Mann, Squeeze, Nanci Griffith, Arthur Darvill, Richard Durrant (drum kit, bicycles and bells!) amongst others and is currently drummer for Mark Eitzel (American Music Club) and dark electronica band Black Channels. He works every year at Shakespeare’s Globe as percussionist and musical director and also collaborates with Sarah Angliss in the band Spacedog featuring theremins, robots, baroque recorder, handbells and vibes. Recent Spacedog gigs have included the Edinburgh Science Festival, Green Man Festival and a BFI-commissioned live film soundtrack performed at the NFT as part of their recent major ‘Gothic’ series in 2013.

His composing work has covered short films, advertisements, theatre and the concert hall. Artists he has written for include Stephen Gutman, Richard Benjafield, New Noise, Joby Burgess, ensemblebash, The Mavron Quartet and Thames Valley male voice choir - the winners of European Choir of the Year (2010). Amongst other places his works have been performed at the Melbourne Festival, Aardklop Festival (South Africa), Purcell Room, Festival Hall and a national tour of Ghana. Most recently he has written music for the show ‘X&Y’ - a two-hander with Marcus Du Sautoy and Victoria Gould - produced by the Science Museum and performed at Glastonbury and most of the major UK science festivals. He also composed the music (and is the solo onstage musician/performer) in ‘Lionboy’ produced by Complicite which has toured all over the UK, Hong Kong and played for two weeks on Broadway.

Notable works include ‘Underneath’ - a twenty minute commission for five hundred young people to open the Bath International Music Festival (2010) at Bath Abbey. Stephen’s also set the poetry of prisoners in song form for the BBC radio series “Ballads of Reading Jail”. This won a Sony Gold Award in 2011. He wrote songs for Facepack Theatre’s educational schools show which has toured hundreds of UK schools over the past seven years and also composed the score for the film ’The Driver’ - a major documentary for Qatari TV, shown as the centrepiece of Qatar National Day celebrations in 2012.

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Last Updated: 03/11/2015