Stephen Sands – Biography
Stephen Sands, a GRAMMY-nominated “crystalline tenor” (Backstage) and acclaimed by the New York Times as “a tenor with a focused, powerful tone,” possesses a vocal artistry marked by subtlety and poignancy. With Bachelors and Masters degrees from Westminster Choir College, he is a recipient of the NJ Excellence in the Arts award.
In demand as a soloist, conductor, music educator, and ensemble member, Stephen is sought after by prestigious institutions and conductors across the United States. A distinguished conductor, he is set to lead performances at Carnegie Hall in February 2024 with Downtown Voices and in May 2025 with Mid-America Productions, conducting Ola Gjeilo’s Sunrise Mass.
As the conductor of Downtown Voices, a key component of the Trinity Wall Street music program, now in its ninth season, Stephen brings together volunteer and professional singers for high-level performances. Notable among his conducting achievements is the New York Times’ praise for his work on Britten’s St. Nicholas, stating, “Stephen Sands beautifully balanced the sound and maintained order.” The choir was featured at Carnegie Hall as part of the Buffalo Philharmonic’s Lukas Foss Celebration in 2022. “Through it all the combined choirs, superbly prepared by Stephen Sands, were a marvel of well-supported tone, lucid diction, and (when called for) smart, détaché articulation.” -New York Classical Review.
In addition to his role at Trinity Wall Street, Stephen serves as the managing director of Ensemble Veritas, the professional choral ensemble at Harvard University, collaborating with the Harvard New Music Initiative Project and the Harvard Choruses. Ensemble Veritas has graced stages at Sanders Hall at Harvard, Carnegie Hall, and Alice Tully Hall in New York City.
A founding member and Executive Director of the internationally acclaimed Antioch Chamber Ensemble, Stephen has overseen the ensemble’s international tours, commercial recordings, and self-funded performances. Recent highlights include residencies and masterclasses at Harvard University, Washington and Lee University, and Vassar College. Antioch’s latest recording, In Praise of Music, features works by the renowned choral composer Robert Kyr.
In his capacity as Artistic Director, Stephen founded and secured funding for Music in the Somerset Hills, an organization dedicated to music education and performance in northern New Jersey. As conductor of The Somerset Hills Chorus, Stephen has led many notable events including a concert of Music of the Movies featuring actor Peter Dinklage, a concert of Mozart’s Requiem and collaborations with world-renowned choirs like Chanticleer and The King’s Singers.
Beyond his artistic endeavors, Stephen is a respected music educator, having taught choral music to thousands of students in grades 3-12 in the Somerset Hills School District.
As a versatile performer, Stephen has excelled as the Evangelist and tenor soloist in numerous performances of Bach’s and Handel’s oratorios. He is a full-time member of the Choir of Trinity Wall Street, and his ensemble experience includes collaborations with the Carmel Bach Festival Chorale, TENET, Clarion Music Society, and Pomerium.
Stephen Sands, with his multifaceted career and unwavering commitment to musical excellence, continues to captivate audiences and contribute significantly to the American cultural landscape.
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