Meeting Stephen Upshaw

Stephen is a brilliant viola player and a fantastic new addition to our artistic board. Come and hear him play alongside Sarah Mason (percussion) and Claudia Maria Racovicean (piano) at The Forge, Camden on Monday November 21st at 8pm. The programme includes Morton Feldman’s ‘The Viola In My Life’ alongside new works for viola by Mark Simpson, Tigran Mansurian and Jack Sheen, and works for percussion by Anna Meredith and Mark Bowden. Find out more about Stephen in our quick question/ answer below, and visit his website for more…


So far I have Rioted in the following ways …

Moving thousands of miles away from home to start a career in a place where I knew no one, I suppose?

Teenage tearaway, or nerdy note-learner?

Both note-learner and tearaway depending on the day and when the exams were. 🙂

Favourite musician?

Joseph Szigeti.

Favourite performance venue?

Two way tie between 40 Watt Club, Athens, GA USA and The Royal Vauxhall Tavern.

People have said this about me …

‘Supercharged viola players used to be an oxymoron but they aren’t now!’ – I’m very happy to hopefully debunk boring viola jokes!

Strictly or X Factor?

X Factor for sure! Having played on it once (shh), I suppose my allegiances would have to lie there?

Salad cream or mayonnaise?

As an American it took me quite some time to even figure out what salad cream is (I still don’t fully understand what it is, if anyone would like to help clarify …), so I will say mayonnaise!

The best 007 is …

Sean Connery of course.

I would most like to Riot about …

Brexit and how it was allowed to happen.

Many thanks Stephen. You may be interested to know that salad cream is a creamy, pale yellow condiment based on an emulsion of about 25–50% oil in water, emulsified by egg yolk and acidulated by spirit vinegar, and it is delicious in sandwiches or with chips.

The Viola in my Life

Date: Monday 21st November, 8.00pm
Venue: The Forge, Camden (NW1 7NL)

The Riot Ensemble connects people to great contemporary music with this performance entitled “The Viola in my Life.” The performance features Riot’s new Artistic Board Member Stephen Upshaw, who programmed this concert alongside fellow rioters Sarah Mason & Claudia Maria Racovicean.
The concert features Feldman’s classic The Viola in My Life, alongside the world premiere of new solo viola works by Mark Simpson, and small chamber music by Jack Sheen, Tigran Mansurian and others.  Here’s the full programme:

Mark Simpson: New Work for Solo Viola (World Premiere)

Morton Feldman: “The Viola in My Life 3” for viola and piano

Mark Bowden: “Hoist” for solo percussion

Jack Sheen: “Each One Cancels Out the Last” for viola, piano and tape (World Premiere)

Anna Meredith: “Flex” for solo percussion

Tigran Mansurian: “Duet” for viola and percussion (UK Premiere)

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