Music in the Somerset Hills: Education, Artistry, and Community Through Music
The mission of Music in the Somerset Hills is to provide musical experiences of the highest quality to those who live and work in the Somerset Hills and the surrounding communities.
Board of Trustees:
Stephen Sands, Artistic Director
Richard Somerset-Ward, President of the Board
Catherine Pane, Treasurer
Pamela Nardone, Chair of Development
Billy Webster, General Manager
Joanne Borek, Patricia French, Brian Harlow, Jennifer Pierson, Ferrill Roll, Kristin Sands, Joan Seigle, Linda Walker
Frederica von Stade, Honorary Artistic Advisor
Artistic Director Biography:
A GRAMMY-nominated “crystalline tenor” (Backstage) who was praised by the New York Times as “a tenor with a focused, powerful tone“ who sings with “subtlety” and “poignancy“, Stephen Sands is highly sought after as a soloist, conductor, music educator and ensemble member by some of the most prestigious institutions and conductors in the United States. Mr. Sands holds his Bachelors and Masters degrees from Westminster Choir College.
Stephen is conductor of Downtown Voices, a new and exciting choral group that is part of the Trinity Wall Street music program, focused on bringing the best volunteer and professional singers in the NYC metro area together into one choir for high level performances. Of his conducting in Britten’s St. Nicholas, The New York Times said “In the sequences in which the adult choir sang at the front of the church, with the children’s choir in the organ loft, the conductor Stephen Sands beautifully balanced the sound and maintained order. The singers and instrumentalists had incisive, agile strength.” The 2015-2106 season featured performances of Britten’s St. Nicolas, MacMillians Seven Last Words from the Cross and Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis and Symphony Number 9. The 2016-2017 season will feature a major commissioned work, Spire and Shadow, by Zachary Wadsworth, which will examine the rich history of downtown New York City and celebrate the 250th anniversary of St. Paul’s Chapel. Also this season Stephen will conduct Handel’s Israel in Egypt with the Trinity Baroque Orchestra and prepare the choir for Philip Glass’ Symphony Number 5.
Stephen is a founding member and Executive Director of the internationally award-winning Antioch Chamber Ensemble, widely regarded as one of the finest professional vocal ensembles in the country. He has had the pleasure of coordinating international performing tours, producing commercial recordings, and staging many self-funded performances. Stephen has recently coordinated and participated in residencies and masterclasses with Antioch at Harvard University and Vassar College.
As an Artistic Director, Stephen has successfully raised funds from both individual and institutional sources for Music in the Somerset Hills, an organization dedicated to music education and performance in northern New Jersey. In 2016, Stephen led a concert of Music of the Movies, featuring actor Peter Dinklage and a professional orchestra of Broadway players, led by Jonathan Dinklage. In 2017, Stephen led the Somerset Hills Chorus in a concert of Mozart’s Requiem and conducted a concert of Handel’s Water Music on Ravine Lake in Far Hills, NJ.
In addition to a successful career as a musician and conductor, Stephen is also a respected music educator. He has taught choral music to thousands of students in grades 3-12 in the Somerset Hills School District for more than 18 years.
Stephen has been heard as the Evangelist and tenor soloist in numerous performances of Bach’s sacred oratorios, most recently with the Trinity Choir and Baroque Orchestra in the St. John Passion of J.S. Bach. As an ensemble member, Stephen sings with the Carmel Bach Festival Chorale, Vox Vocal Ensemble, Aoede Consort, TENET, Clarion Music Society, Pomerium, and is a full time member of the Choir of Trinity Wall Street under the direction of Julian Wachner. StephenSands.net