Stephen Marquiss is one of the most experienced pianist/teachers living in South West England. He works as a soloist, 1-2-1 teacher, workshop facilitator, composer, speaker and maker of online courses and videos.
Stephen’s unique perspective comes from his personal journey from frustration to facility in playing.
This led him to create Piano Portals – the Art of Conscious Flow – a holistic daily practice for pianists and radical substitute for conventional exercises.
It also birthed the melodious, ambient compositional style of his Joshua’s Fire, a set of seven piano pieces charting a human journey, available on all major streaming and download platforms.
Stephen was born in Bath, England and was educated at Wells Cathedral School, a specialist music school, and then at Christ’s College, Cambridge, where he gained an MA in Music. During his time at Cambridge, Stephen travelled to New York to study with Sophia Rosoff, a pioneering teacher and former student of Abby Whiteside. This sowed seeds that led eventually to the creation of Piano Portals, over a decade later.
In his early school years, Stephen won the Sheila Mossman Award for the highest ABRSM exam mark in the country, reached the final of the Ettlingen International Competition for Young Pianists and the televised stage of BBC Young Musicians.
In his later teens, Stephen struggled with so-called RSI, refocusing on composition over piano and becoming a rare candidate for a theoretical A Level Music paper in place of a performance.
In his 20s, Stephen’s piano-playing took a back seat. He spent a successful decade working in community music in and around his native Frome, Somerset, England. Stephen founded Frome Symphony, the town’s orchestra, which thrives nearly two decades on. He served as Musical Director of the now-internationally-known Frome Festival.
Stephen also worked as a piano accompanist at Wells Cathedral School and a piano and early years’ music teacher at Hazlegrove Preparatory School during this time. The latter led to his appointment as a Jolly Music trainer, a music programme for children which cultivates inner hearing and rhythmic skills through singing and physical activities.
In his early 30s, Stephen refocused on his piano playing, driven by a sense of frustration and under-achievement as a pianist. Over the course of a decade, Stephen formulated, refined and created Piano Portals – a radical, holistic approach to playing, based on fundamentals of technique that conventional pedagogy has all but neglected.
Piano Portals enabled Stephen to realise his dream of playing his chosen repertoire to his satisfaction. It empowered him to overcome a mental block about playing from memory and to learn to play by ear. It offers a path to fluent, expressive playing, free of excess tension, to a growing number of open-minded pianists and teachers across the world. It’s available as books/ebooks and audio from the shop.
In his spare time, Stephen enjoys the outdoors, cycling, motorcycling, yoga, walking, photography and film.
Play the Piano by Ear – December 2018
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