Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Conductor Stephen P. Brown shares his passion for classical music

In a digital world, where we rely so heavily on our gadgets, Stephen P. Brown’s goal is to share the experience of live music.
As a conductor and composer, Brown wants to share his passion with both performers and audience members alike.
“Classical music has lasted more than 400 years for a reason,” said Brown, “The whole process of making live music is very intimate...Experiencing it live is something that doesn’t exist anywhere else in our digital world.”
Brown joined the Patel Conservatory in 2011 as the Principal Conductor of the Patel Conservatory Youth Orchestra program.
Originally from Rochester, England, Brown has toured worldwide to over 15 countries in East and West Europe, Africa and North America. He conducted the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Griffin Orchestra, and has conducted several premieres including Antonin Tucapsky’s Triptychon, Martin Gaughan’s Columba Aspexit, and Jon Edwards’ Dawn Mantras as part of the UK’s Millennium Festival.
After living in New Jersey for ten years, Brown moved to Tampa with his wife Melissa and two kittens Kip and Serena in early 2011.
Teaching has always been an important part of his professional life.
“I wouldn’t be where I am if I didn’t have good teachers,” said Brown, who’s been teaching since he was 17 years old. “I want to give back to the next generation what was passed down to me from the previous generation.”
One of the goals of PCYO this year is to focus on music by living composers, said Brown. In May, PCYO will perform a work currently being composed exclusively for the Patel Conservatory Chamber Orchestra by Martin Gaughan.
“We live in a developing world. The youth of today should contribute to that development by playing music written in their time,” said Brown. “There are few youth orchestras that have that kind of focus.”
The May concert will also include a concerto by professional pianist Joshua Sawicki, winner of Brown's national Concerto Competition held in late 2011. Playing with a professional allows the students an opportunity to grow both musically and intellectually.
“At their level, being able to follow and listen is vital to their growth,” said Brown. “Even if you end up in the corporate world, you need to listen to co-workers and follow what your boss wants...What students learn through orchestral experience can be applied to just about anything else in life.”
PCYO students also will have the opportunity to travel to Jacksonville to work with members of the Jacksonville Symphony and participate in the Jacksonville Symphony Youth Orchestra Festival in June.

As part of the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, the Patel Conservatory Youth Orchestra program offers unique experiences that foster the growth of young musicians. We're thrilled to have Brown's expertise at the helm.

For more information about our youth orchestra, or music lessons in Tampa, click here.


  1. Stephen is an amazing musician who has brought a vast knowledge to our students. I am so very happy to have him on our staff.
    --Gregory Ruffer, Music Department Chair
    Patel Conservatory

  2. Wow - these are excellent points. My children are way too connected to their phones and other digital devices. Listening to live music and playing instrucments does provide an opportunity to connect to the world in a different way.