Marcus Barcham-Stevens, Violinist and Composer

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Marcus has held the positions of Co-Leader of the Britten Sinfonia orchestra since 2013, and Principal 2nd Violin of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, since 2016. He has led, directed from the violin and played as soloist with Britten Sinfonia. He has also led the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, and performed as soloist with them.

Watch Marcus playing Shostakovich's 8th String Quartet with the SCO:
Watch Marcus leading the SCO in a chamber ensemble, in music by Purcell:

Marcus was in the Fitzwiliam String Quartet for 7 years, highlights of which included recording CDs of late string quartets by Schubert and Shostakovich.

Solo work has included a video recital with pianist Christina Lawrie in Caird Hall, Dundee, 2020, with music by Kreisler, Vivaldi, Brahms and Scottish folk music:

During the pandemic, to keep music going and to keep connected with our audiences, Christina and Marcus gave 30 online concerts. We are so grateful for the tremendous support we received in doing these concerts.

Marcus has broadcast as a soloist and chamber musician on BBC Radio 3 and live in recital on Classic FM. He has performed as a soloist with the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, in Westminster Abbey to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of WW1, at London King's Place and at the SpitalfieldsFestival.

As a chamber musician, Marcus has performed at the Wigmore Hall, Purcell Room with the Park Lane Group, Manchester's Bridgewater Hall, Symphony Hall Birmingham, the International Musicians’ Seminar Prussia Cove, the Library of Congress in Washington, the Haydn String Quartet Festival, Esterhazy, the Opéra Comique, Paris, the BBC Proms (RCM), and with pianists Thomas Adès (in music by Adès at Carnegie Hall, New York with BCMG), Peter Donohoe, Paul Lewis, Freddy Kempf, Leon Mc Cawley, Peter Hill, Jonathan Powell, with harpsichordist Emmanuelle Haïm, violinist Alina Ibragimova and cellist Paul Watkins.

Marcus has enjoyed playing for many years with period ensemble DeNote and recorded with them. Listen here:
Ensemble DeNote Mozart Duo No 1 for Violin and Viola in G, K423 Rondeau Allegro, with Oliver Wilson, viola.

Ensemble DeNote Mozart Sonata for Piano and Violin K454 Largo Allegretto, with fortepianist John Irving

With the Eroica String Quartet, Marcus played in the world première recording of the original version of Mendelssohn’s Octet, which can be heard here:

Marcus has led the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (with whom he held the position of Principal First Violin 2000-02), Aurora Orchestra (including a memorised performance of Mozart Symphony 40), Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Hanover Band, Ensemble Modern Frankfurt, Musikfabrik Köln and the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group.

For many years, he played in Sir John Eliot Gardiner's Orchèstre Révolutionnaire et Romantique; he has recorded with Jonathan Cohen’s ensemble Arcangelo, and in chamber music with hornist Anneke Scott.


As a composer, Marcus has composed much sacred music for choir and organ (see below), something close to his heart; solo, chamber and ensemble music; music for ballet; for voice and orchestra, for three violins and orchestra, and a violin concerto.
He has written 6 pieces inspired by Henry Purcell's Fantasias for the Fitzwilliam String Quartet.

His anthems "Fear Not" and "And the Word" have been performed many times by Ex Cathedra choir and Jeffrey Skidmore in their Christmas concerts.

Other compositions have been performed/recorded by musicians from Duo Concertante in Canada and the London Greenwich Piano Trio; by members of the BBCSO, ensemble Chroma and Ely Cathedral Girls' choir. His compositions have been performed in St. Paul's Cathedral, Temple Church, at the Wigmore Hall, the Place, Euston, in the Barbican foyer, and in the USA.

Marcus' composition "Dhyana" for soprano and large ensemble, was described as "hugely impressive", George Hall, the Guardian, 2011.

Marcus was a finalist in the 2012 New Music for St. Paul's Cathedral Composition Competition, and is recipient of the John Clementi Collard Fellowship, 2008, in composition, from the Worshipful Company or Musicians, where he is now a Freeman.

Since 2010, Marcus has been teaching, at the Guildhall School of Music, a course which brings together student composers, string players and pianists.

listen to some of Marcus' compositions:
Living Trees, for flute, violin and cello, 2021:

Laude, for solo cello, 2020: Laude, - by Marcus Barcham Stevens performed by Heather Tuach

Stone, for solo cello, 2020: HEATHER TUACH - Stone by Marcus Barcham Stevens

Bird, for solo cello, 2020

"And the Word" performed by Ex Cathedra and Alex Mason, conducted by Jeffrey Skidmore.

Sanctus and Benedictus, from Mass, 2007:

Since we are surrounded, anthem for SATB, 2009:

Double on Fantasia 7 by Purcell, for String Quartet, 2014:

Lockdown Psalm for solo violin, 2020:

Dum sacrum mysterium for violin and piano

The Cloud of Unknowing, for cello and piano, 2009:

Carmen Fantasy for 3 violins and piano, 1998, performed by violinists Emil Chudnovsky, Andrew Haveron and Florin Croitoru:

Octagon, for ensemble of 8 players, 2011:

Dhyana for soprano and large ensemble

Flare, an electro-acoustic violin etude, 2009:

Cocoon, from the ballet Tela, 2007:

My sacred music for choir, a capella or with organ, includes:
Mass, 2007
Since we are surrounded, 2009
Give Thanks to the Father, 2009
Antiphon for St.Michael, 2010
Pater Caelestis, 2012
The Spirit Descends, 2012
The Angel of the Lord, 2012
Sounding the Seasons, 2014
Vidit Lucem, 2015
Fear Not, 2018
And the Word, 2019
If ye be risen, 2020
Lockdown Prayer, 2020
On the Water, 2021
Whom have I?, 2021

Please get in touch if you would like to buy any of my compositions. Thank you.


"... First Violinist Marcus Barcham Stevens brought a soaring beauty to phrases reminiscent of the pastoral ecstasy of Vaughan Williams" - the Strad magazine, 2004, for a performance of Gabriel Jackson’s String Quartet Ring of Waves.

"Bach's Double Concerto was a delight, violinists Marcus Barcham Stevens and Briony Shaw complementing each other's tones in a gorgeously crisp account" - the Birmingham Post, 2003.

"The Adagio was a profoundly spiritual experience with sensitive playing from Marcus Barcham Stevens" – the Gloucestershire Echo, 2005, for a performance of Mozart's string trio Divertimento “

…two splendid guest artists - conductor Timothy Carey and violinist Marcus Barcham Stevens .The overture…was a suitable curtain-raiser to Marcus Barcham Stevens' beguiling account of the Violin Concerto No 3 in G major… The closing rondo movement was filled with youthful, not to say cheeky, witticisms and has a winds-only ending which is most unexpected. The concerto's adagio was for me a revelation. Flutes replaced oboes and the muted strings created an almost mystical sound -world.” – John Ricketts, the Gloucestershire Echo, Nov 2010 for a performance with the Cheltenham Chamber Orchestra.

“…Marcus' Italian violin was able to soar with surprising ease. But it was the couple's emotional integration in - and through - the music that was the most compelling... Music Nairn has given us a moving and unforgettable evening.” – Patrick Zentler-Munro, Music Nairn 2009 for a recital with pianist Christina Lawrie.

“Simon Steen-Anderson’s Study for string instrument #1 (2007) – performed by Marcus Barcham Stevens – focused on a gesture and through repetition the player could focus on different components of the gesture, accentuating the timbral components of a glissando on a single string. Marcus controlled the tone with aplomb, demonstrating precise tonal control which made the work fascinating to hear.” – Steven Berryman, “I care if you listen”, for a performance at King’s Place, London, Oct 2011.

“The translucent voice of Sadhbh Dennedy floated gracefully through Marcus Barcham Stevens’ intricate Chinese settings, Dhyana, a tribute to Mahler's Song of the Earth; and David Bruce’s brilliantly scored, folk-inspired The North Wind Was a Woman. Both were hugely impressive.” – George Hall, The Guardian, Aug 2011

"However, and even stronger impression was made by Marcus Barcham Stevens' Lockdown Prayer. Stevens is one of the violinists in the Fitzwilliam String Quartet and he has written for Ex Cathedra before. This piece takes words from the Gospel of St John in which Jesus says, "I am the light of the world.". The text offers consolation and reassurance in worrying times and Stevens' simple, homophonic setting spoke simply and directly. I was moved by both the music and the heartfelt performance. I can pay Stevens no higher compliment than to say that I immediately wound the film back and replayed his piece."

John Quinn, Seen and Heard International, review of a video concert by Ex Cathedra, Dec 2020.

Feedback from some "concerts from our living room" with Christina Lawrie during 2020-21:
"Your recital last Sunday was an absolute joy and such a symbol of hope in these difficult times"

"Thank you so much for treating us to this wonderful music. It is wonderful to be able to hear such a professional performance and a real tonic in a frightening time"

Chroma at Westminster Abbey in Nov 2018, Photo Claire Shovelton
Marcus playing with Chroma in Armistice Commemoration at Westminster Abbey in November 2018. Photo by Claire Shovelton.

Chroma at Westminster Abbey in Nov 2018, Photo Claire Shovelton
Westminster Abbey in November 2018. Photo by Claire Shovelton.

Marcus outside the Queen's Hall, Edinburgh. Photo by Gordon Burniston.
Marcus outside the Queen's Hall, Edinburgh. Photo by Gordon Burniston.

Chroma at Westminster Abbey in Nov 2018, Photo Claire Shovelton
Photo by Claire Shovelton.

Photo Claire Shovelton
Photo by Claire Shovelton.

Marcus Barcham-Stevens
Photo by Claire Shovelton.
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