Steve Potter is a composer, researcher, performing musician, curator and educator. His work integrates critical reflections on racial segregation and class ideology, with experimental noise, speech, and movement, into complex performances. Collaboration through friendship is central to his practice, and his collaborators have included world-leading humanities scholars, instrumental improvisers, computer musicians, physicists, animators, post-dramatic actors, vocalists and dancers. His current research, begun in 2015-16 at the Society for the Humanities at Cornell University, looks at relationships between contemporary music-making and forms of governance.
Steve’s compositions have been performed at major venues in the UK, continental Europe and North America. As a composer he has collaborated with the ASKO Ensemble, New York City Opera, Philharmonia Orchestra, Arditti Quartet, Ensemble Modern, Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, London Sinfonietta, and Distractfold Ensemble. He has written for a wide variety of vocal and instrumental ensembles, music-theatre, dance, and hybrid works involving lecture, performance, and video. Numerous leading interpreters of contemporary music have conducted his work, including George Benjamin, Franck Ollu, Baldur Brönniman, Bas Wiegers, Lorraine Vaillancourt, and George Manahan. His works have been performed at the Klangspuren Festival (Innsbruck), kampnagel (Hamburg), Ojai Festival (California), Darmstadt Summer Courses, Domaine Forget (Quebec), as well as at Alte Oper Frankfurt, de Ijsbreker (Amsterdam), Korzo Theatre (Den Haag), Royal Festival Hall, Village Underground, and alternative venues in London. In 2013 the London Sinfonietta commissioned PLAY, for 19 musicians and conductor, which premiered at LSO St. Luke’s, with George Benjamin conducting the London Sinfonietta Academy Ensemble. His works have also been broadcast on Hessischen Rundfunk (hr2-kultur) and Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk (MDR).
Steve’s performing life encompasses piano, prepared piano, accordion, amplified objects, samplers, voice, drawing, improvisation with film, and conducting. In various roles he has performed with Paul Hillier and Theatre of Voices, Reinbert de Leeuw, squib-box, Wet Ink Ensemble, Strangeface Theatre, and Cornell University Gamelan Ensemble.
Steve studied composition with George Benjamin at King’s College London and with Louis Andriessen, Clarence Barlow, Gilius van Bergeijk, and Diderik Wagenaar at the Royal Conservatoire, The Netherlands. He has taught at Cornell and Goldsmiths universities, and at King’s College London. He currently teaches composition and harmony at Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and gives private lessons in piano, music theory and composition. Steve is originally from Chico, California.