GRAMMY®-winning lutenist and conductor Stephen Stubbs (Best Opera Recording 2015), having spent a 30-year career in Europe, returned to his native Seattle in 2006 as one of the world’s most respected baroque opera specialists. In 2014, he was awarded the Mayor’s Arts Award for ‘Raising the Bar’ in Seattle. Prior to his return, he was based in Bremen, Germany where he was Professor at the Hochschule für Künste. In 2017, Stephen established a new production company, Pacific MusicWorks, based in Seattle, reflecting his lifelong interest in both early music and contemporary performance. The company’s inaugural presentation was a production of South African artist William Kentridge’s acclaimed multimedia staging of Claudio Monteverdi’s opera The Return of Ulysses in a coproduction with the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. PMW’s performances of the Monteverdi Vespers were described in the press as “utterly thrilling” and “of a quality you are unlikely to encounter anywhere else in the world”. Additionally, Gramophone Magazine reviewed the recent Pacific MusicWorks recording, Handel’s Tenor featuring GRAMMY® Awardwinning Tenor Aaron Sheehan, as having “spoton musical shaping and communication”, “fantastic shading in the orchestra” and being an “hugely enjoyable album”.
Stephen is also permanent artistic codirector of the Boston Early Music Festival along with longtime colleague Paul O’Dette. Stephen and Paul are also the musical directors of all BEMF operas, recordings of which have been nominated for five GRAMMY® awards. Of these, Charpentier’s La descente d’Orphée aux enfers won the GRAMMY® for Best Opera Recording 2015. In Europe, BEMF recordings won two Echo Klassik awards, and the Diapason d’Or. In 2017, they were presented with the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik.
In addition to his ongoing commitments to PMW and BEMF, other recent appearances have included conducting Handel’s Giulio Cesare and Gluck’s Orfeo in Bilbao, Mozart’s Magic Flute and Cosi fan Tutte for the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival, Handel’s Agrippina and Semele for Opera Omaha, Cavalli’s Calisto and Rameau’s Hippolyte et Aricie for Juilliard, Mozart’s Il re pastore for the Merola program and seven productions for Opera UCLA including Cavalli’s Giasone, Monteverdi’s Poppea and Handel’s Amadigi. In 2020, before the lockdown, he conducted Landi’s La Morte d’Orfeo for Los Angeles Opera’s Young Artist program, Charpentier’s La descente d’Orphée aux enfers for Opera UCLA and Stradella’s San Giovanni Battista for Opera Omaha. In recent years he has conducted Handel’s Messiah with the Seattle, Edmonton, Birmingham and Houston Symphony orchestras. His extensive discography as conductor and solo lutenist includes well over 100 CDs, many of which have received international acclaim and awards.