Stephen Preston

Historically informed performance

After a chance encounter with an 18th century flute in 1969, Stephen exchanged his Boehm flute for its historical counterparts and embarked on an autodidactic journey into Baroque, Classical and early Romantic interpretation, technique and performance. Drawing on a extensive range of primary sources reaching from late 17th to 19th century, with a particular focus on French practice, Stephen played a seminal role in the development of the historically informed performance movement in the early 1970s.

Increasing interest in historical dance, choreography and thir relationship to music led to a change in focus and his founding in 1980 of the London Baroque Dance Theatre; alongside choreographing dance for operas by composers such as Lully, Rameau, Handel and Mozart. In 1990 he formed a second company to explore parallels and divergences between the historical and contemporary dancing body.

Continuing to teach, perform and develop new insights in this field, current projects include: