Gordon Stewart

Key details:

Music | Vocal Studies
Vocal Coach; Aria, Song and Oratorio


Gordon Stewart has a degree in French and German from his time at King's College, Cambridge, where he was a Prizeman, and another in Music from London University, which he got while studying at the Royal College of Music, where he was an Exhibitioner. Later he was awarded a Vaughan Williams Trust scholarship to further his studies in singing. He was appointed a member of staff upon completing his studies. Over the years he has performed as both pianist and singer, including recital broadcasts with the BBC. His first speech broadcast was as a member of the Record Review panel, and following that he worked regularly, and increasingly, writing and presenting music programmes on the World Service.

Later he went to work at BBC Radio 3 as a producer, producing six studio operas, one of which (Macbeth) is now issued in CD form on the Opera Rara label, and many live and recorded programmes, (including the complete works of Ravel). For five years he was in charge of the audition system which looked out new artists and brought them in to the studio, often producing their first broadcast himself. Finally, he was Deputy Head of the department. His production of the first live music broadcast from the then Soviet Union brought a Sony Award in 1986.

He went on to be Head of Vocal Studies at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama for five years, where he re-wrote the degree syllabus for the vocal department, and drew up the plan for the new Opera School, which culminated in the new purpose built addition to the existing building, which was completed after his departure to return to free-lance work in London. Since then he has worked as a private teacher, broadcaster (including a weekly season of songs by Schubert during the bicentenary year), and independent producer of programmes for the BBC and of CDs. 

His competition jury work includes the Kathleen Ferrier Memorial Prize (twice), the Richard Tauber Prize (twice), and, in Holland, the s’Hertogenbosch International Song Competition (six times). He has twice been a member of the panel of judges at the Leeds International Piano Competition; in 1989 he was in Tel Aviv to join the jury for the Arthur Rubinstein Competition; he twice was on the board for the unique competition at The Hague for accompanists.  

In his career he has taught at all the major London conservatoires of music, culminating in the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, whose staff he joined in 2008.

In addition to the hundreds of scripts he has written for radio programmes, many of which he presented at the microphone, he has written articles and reviewed books in Voice journals. He edited the house magazine of the British Voice Association, the leading organisation for bringing together research and information about the Voice from a wide range of top professionals. He was on the panel of the Van Lawrence Prize, an important award for new thought and research about the voice and its use. 

He writes fiction for pleasure, enjoying the flights of imagination that encourages, but has so far kept it largely to himself. On a slightly more serious level, he wrote a third leader for the The Times. And on a more practical level, he has written short biographies of the four main German Lieder composers and notes for individual publications for Peters Edition, the eminent music publishers. He has completed translations and working notes on the songs of Brahms and of Gabriel Fauré; a handbook on phonetics and their useful rôle in singing is in the course of construction.