Musical Director, Stephen Bell

Belfast-born Stephen Bell has built a hugely diverse career in both commerce and music in and around Northamptonshire spanning over 35 years. Stephen is equally at home directing choirs as he is a Brass Band, Symphonic Wind Band or Orchestra and has significant experience with each genre.

At Southampton University Stephen was encouraged and championed by the composer Mike Sheppard and Professor Peter Evans. At Surrey University he was hugely influenced around performance history by the thinker, writer, producer and critic; Ates Orga.

Stephen has worked with choirs and other ensembles in and around Northampton since 1987. Most notable was the performance with the Northampton Chamber Choir in 2001, of Mozart Requiem in St Giles Church with the Guildhall Orchestra: an Orchestra which Stephen formed and directed in 1997 for the Brahms centenary. Notable successes with the Guildhall Orchestra were the performances of Walton’s Viola Concerto with Martin Outram, Dvorak’s Cello concerto with Michal Kaznowski, Bruch violin concerto with Jan Kaznowski and performances of all of the Brahms Symphonies and Parry 5th Symphony. Stephen also directed the Guildhall Orchestra for a memorable performance of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No 3 with the internationally recognised pianist Nicholas Austin.

Stephen was appointed as the Musical Director of the Northampton Concert Band (2005-2015) following in the footsteps of Harold Colman and has enjoyed considerable success with the band at the NCBF festival finals, winning numerous Gold and Platinum awards.

Stephen was appointed Musical Director of the St Cecilia Singers of Rushden (2007-2012) a tenure culminating in a memorable performance of Brahms German Requiem with the international soloist David Wilson-Johnson as the solo Baritone in November 2012.

Stephen returned to the world of Brass Bands to be appointed musical director of the Rushden Windmill Brass Band (2012-14).

Stephen has enjoyed considerable success with the now award-winning Northampton Male Voice Choir (2011-current). Stephen has been particularly tenacious in improving the standards and versatility of the choir to the point where they are now recognised as one of the finest Male Voice Choirs in England. Stephen is proud to call the choir an “Entertainment Choir” and the choir gives over 25 thrilling concerts each year.

Stephen adores his Orchestra the Market Harborough Orchestra “beyond all reason” (2012-current) which performs three high quality and sold out concerts every year to hugely appreciative audiences.

Stephen enjoys working with the mighty GUS band where he was appointed Associate Musical Director in 2021 working alongside Chris Jeans. Stephen was introduced by Chris to the magnificent young talent in Youth Brass 2000 where he stood in for Chris at the last minute for the 2022 Italy tour. Stephen was subsequently thrilled to be appointed Resident Musical Director for Youth Brass 2000 in Sept 2022 following in the footsteps of Gary Fountain 

Stephen is in demand as an adjudicator and has enjoyed working with the Milton Keynes and Wellingborough Festival.

Stephen is Co-founder (with Connie Penn) of the Classical Spectacular “Picnic on the Lawn” concert series in Northampton and is the co-founder and artistic director of the charity NorthantsYouthMusic23

Whilst not making music Stephen has cultivated an impressive parallel career within the automotive industry. Stephen held a very senior position within Mercedes-Benz in Milton Keynes for 10 years (2004-2014) and since 2014 has set up and run his own training company, Red Kite Training & Development Limited, providing consultancy and training services mainly for the Passenger Car, Commercial Vehicle and Truck network for Mercedes-Benz and other automotive clients. Recently Stephen has become Co-founder of a new and exciting consultancy focused on “better business practices”,

Stephen has two daughters Rebecca and Hannah both of whom are professional violinists.

When not making music or running his businesses Stephen can be found training for 5K, 10K, Half Marathon’s and most recently the 2021 London Marathon raising over £8000 for Prostate Cancer. Stephen also ran the Belfast Marathon in 2023 (41 years after running the first ever Belfast Marathon in 1982) to mark his 60th birthday year.

Stephen enjoys reading musicological books, studying scores, listening to good old-fashioned LPs and enjoying the occasional single malt.

Stephen lives in Oundle with his partner Sarah.

Stephen can be contacted directly via the below: