Ian Stephenson Announced as Sage Gateshead's New Folkestra Director
Ian Stephenson, guitarist and multi-instrumentalist, has been announced as the new Folkestra Director, taking over from founding director Kathryn Tickell, to oversee the North East’s regional youth folk ensemble based at Sage Gateshead.
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, Andy May Trio and KAN, and is a regular performer at Sage Gateshead events such as Fiddles on Fire and Gateshead International Jazz Festival.
Folkestra have performed at numerous concerts and festivals worldwide with performances in Denmark and Chicago; performances at 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.
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