MM New England Conservatory
BM University of North Texas
San Francisco Symphony
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Dallas Symphony Orchestra
Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra
What are you passionate about outside of music?
I’m a commercial rated pilot, a fitness enthusiast, and a passionate cyclist
What is a favorite quote that you repeatedly tell students?
You must first conceive before you set out to achieve!
What question do you wish students would ask sooner rather than later?
What experience do you wish to provide your listener with?
What was a turning point in your career?
When I found balance with music and outside passions.
What is your daily practice routine?
Hands, mind, hands, mind...
If you could play only three composers for the rest of your life, who would they be?
Shostakovich, Brahms, Sibelius
Please list your most important collaborations.
The student/teacher dynamic is absolutely the most important collaboration for me
What recordings can we hear you on? (Please list five or fewer and specify record label.
Beethoven Symphonies 5, 7- Pittsburgh Symphony
Beethoven 3rd Symphony- Pittsburgh Symphony
Bruckner 9th Symphony- Pittsburgh Symphony
Principal Timpanist of the San Francisco Symphony since 2016, Ed Stephan is recognized as one of the most exciting and dynamic timpanists in the United States. He has been praised for his “strong and multi-faceted playing” as well as his “captivating command behind the instrument.” Stephan has also held principal timpani positions with the Pittsburgh, Dallas and Fort Worth symphony orchestras. While in Texas, he made numerous solo appearances and was a recipient of the American Airlines Distinguished Musician Award.
Stephan began his percussion training at the age of six. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of North Texas and a Master of Music degree from the New England Conservatory of Music. He was a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center in 2000 and 2001. During his time in Boston, Stephan performed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Philharmonic, the Rhode Island Philharmonic, and the New Haven Symphony.
In recent years, Stephan has appeared as a guest with the Chicago Symphony, The Philharmonia Orchestra of London, the Kansas City Symphony, and the Dallas Opera Orchestra. He has served as the principal timpanist of the Crested Butte Summer Music Festival and is currently timpanist of the Grand Teton Music Festival and the Aspen Festival Orchestra. He has recorded extensively and can be heard on a number of Grammy nominated and award winning albums.
Mr. Stephan is in demand as a teacher and clinician. He presents regular masterclasses throughout North America, Europe and Asia at many of the world’s most prestigious conservatories, universities and festivals. He is a co-presenter of the annual Washburgh Timpani Seminar, and is on the faculty at the Aspen Music Festival and School. Ed currently serves as chair of the percussion department at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, co-chairs the percussion department at the San Francisco Conservatory of music, and makes regular visits to Northwestern University. Ed proudly endorses Adams timpani, Pearl percussion products, Remo percussion products, Luft Timpani Mallets, and Mike Balter mallets. Off stage, Ed is a passionate cyclist, and a commercial pilot studying to be a flight instructor.