Stephanie Childress, the Festival’s new Associate Conductor, sat down for a 10-minute chat via Zoom with Music Director Alasdair Neale in April 2023 to talk about her path to becoming a conductor, what she looks forward to in Sun Valley, and more. It’s an insightful look at the journey music professionals take to develop their craft, and it’s fun to hear a newcomer’s perspective on the Festival. Enjoy!
“Her focus and poise resulted in a performance of lithe vitality, detailed and assured.”
Conductor Stephanie Childress is making her mark as a musician of remarkable skill who has been likened to “other notable young conductors of the past such as Sir John Eliot Gardiner and Sir Simon Rattle” (Varsity). Her musicianship has led to engagements with major symphony orchestras and opera houses across the international stage.
Last season, she concluded her role as Assistant Conductor of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and Music Director of the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra. She also returned to conduct the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra, North Carolina Symphony, and Opéra Orchestre National Montpellier and debuted with Orchestre national d’Île-de-France, New World Symphony, and Konzerthausorchester Berlin. Prior, she appeared with many orchestras in France and the United Kingdom, including Orchestre de Paris and London Symphony Orchestra. Her love of opera inspired her conducting career. She is one of two conductors in the Académie de l’Opéra national de Paris and has appeared in many major opera productions, including with Glyndebourne and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
Ms. Childress won 2nd prize in the 2020 La Maestra Competition for international women conductors and studied music at St. John’s College in Cambridge. As a young violinist, she was a finalist in the BBC Young Musician competition in 2016 and 2018 and made her BBC Proms debut in 2019.