13th April, 2017
Welsh cellist, Steffan Morris is quickly making a name for himself as one of the finest cellists of his generation. Much in demand as a soloist, chamber and orchestral player, he enjoys a very varied career.
“I was brought up in a musical family where everybody sang and played instruments and so it was pretty natural for me to join in! There was a fantastic cello teacher in Neath called Judith Daniel who I got on with extremely well and she really inspired me to play.”
Steffan studied at the Yehudi Menuhin School in Surrey with distinguished cellist, Thomas Carroll and at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna with the prestigious Professor Heinrich Schiff.
“My cello teacher, Heinrich Schiff who sadly died before Christmas was hugely influential. Being part of his class was a real honour and we were lucky enough to spend lots of time with him, in and out of the classroom, on and off the cello. He had something to say about everything. His taste in fine wine was also something to mention, not that I ever tasted any of it of course..”
As a soloist, Steffan has performed with several orchestras around the country. His concert and recital engagements have taken him to Japan, Holland, Germany, Italy, Russia and Austria. He is the youngest ever guest principal cello with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra and has also been guest principal cello with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales and the Northern Sinfonia.
“As a performer, I’m determined that people leave the hall having heard something to remember, even if it’s only one phrase or one type of sound. I think it’s about a mutual trust between performer and audience that the audience can be guided through a piece of music. I remember performances that have left a huge impression on me are ones that seem balanced in technical mastery and musical vision.”
“2017 is a pretty busy year for me. I have a few concertos in London and Cardiff. I'm going to Japan and Argentina with the Marmen Quartet and there are also a few exciting things on the horizon for the Nidum Ensemble, a group that I'm fortunate to run.”
“Some might think this is unusual for a classical musician, but my favourite genre of music to listen to would House and Jazz music. Apart from music, I have a passion for books – I read a lot when I’m travelling. Food is also very important, I eat out a lot! My favourite musician has to be the conductor, Carlos Kleiber. He always strived for perfection and demanded so much of himself. An unpredictable man that worked wonders in front of an orchestra! If I could have dinner with anyone, it would be him. I hope we’d have a lot to talk about, although he was notorious for never wanting to talk about himself - something I’d be keen to find out more about!”
“You would be surprised to discover that one day I hope to be able to make my own bows! My main passion aside from playing the cello is actually learning about the instruments and bows themselves - They’re such works of art.”
Steffan now lives in London and is a professor at the Yehudi Menuhin School.