Location: California, USA
Chicago native STEPHEN STURK expected to become a Latin teacher, but soon after his debut as a singer under the baton of Leonard Bernstein at New York’s Carnegie Hall, he turned to a life in music. His career began in Chicago with appearances in a rock-opera by jazz composer and teacher William Russo. When Russo’s show played in New York City, Sturk remained in the “Big Apple” to pursue his dream.
Sturk’s principal conducting position in New York City was Associate Conductor of Choirs at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. He was also an adjunct faculty member at The Juilliard School as director of The Juilliard Singers, performing through the Lincoln Center Student Program. For ten years he was conductor of the New York Motet Choir, with which he premiered more than 70 new compositions. He performed frequently as conductor and/or singer in New York’s Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Washington’s Kennedy Center, Boston’s Symphony Hall, and other major venues in the USA, Canada, Mexico, and Europe.
As a solo singer Sturk is best known in the role of The Evangelist in the Bach Passions. He has also performed and recorded with the Waverly Consort, New York Philharmonic, Musica Sacra, New York's Ensemble for Early Music, and Steve Reich and Musicians. Sturk appears on more than 60 recordings, most notably on the soundtrack of the Disney animated feature Beauty and the Beast.
An internationally-recognized composer of church music, Dr. Sturk has more than 30 works in print with publishers Arista Music Co., C. F. Peters, Associated Music and Oregon Catholic Press. He has received commissions from churches, individuals and organizations nationwide for his compositions, many written since he moved to California in 1991. At St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral in San Diego he has held the position of “composer-in-residence” since 2000. He is currently conductor and artistic director of Cappella Gloriana, the San Diego-based professional chamber choir he co-founded in 1996. With Cappella Gloriana he has performed more than 100 concerts, toured twice in Germany, toured regionally and produced five CDs. In 2009 he became Director of Music at St. Thomas of Canterbury Episcopal Church in Temecula, California. He also serves as Artistic Director of the San Clemente Choral Society in San Clemente, Calif..
From 1993 to 1997 Sturk served on the faculty of the University of San Diego as Director of the Choral Scholars Program, and from 1998 to 2006 he was both Executive and Artistic Director of the Pacific Academy of Ecclesiastical Music (PACEM), a San Diego non-profit educational and service organization for church musicians. He has appeared as guest conductor with numerous ensembles, including the Bach Collegium San Diego in that city’s first performance of Handel’s Messiah on period instruments in 2007.
In October 2008 Dr. Sturk was awarded the North Central College Fine Arts Medal, an honor conferred by his alma mater for the composition of a work for choirs and concert band, celebrating the opening of the college’s new concert hall.
Sturk was educated at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois (B.A. in Classics), and received the M.A. in music history and literature from San Diego State University, where his specialty was music of the California Missions. He earned the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in choral conducting from North Dakota State University in Fargo.