Stephen Shellard comes from Dublin. He began his musical career as a chorister in the choir of St Bartholomew’s Church Ballsbridge, later moving to St. Patrick’s Cathedral where he became Head Chorister a Winstanley Scholar. He continued his musical education at Trinity College Dublin during which time he became the youngest ever Alto Lay Vicar Choral in the 800 year history of St. Patrick’s. In 1990 Stephen moved to join Worcester Cathedral Choir where he is now Senior Alto Lay Clerk. Stephen’s solo career has included working the Worcester Festival Choral Society as well as many other choral societies. He has sung and recorded with specialist early music ensemble ‘Musica Contexta’, singing solo on their debut recording of Sheppard’s Cantate Mass for the Herald label (HAVPCD195) and on the group’s three-disc Palestrina project for Chandos. Their recording Music for Holy Saturday (CHAN 0679), was in the Editor’s top ten choice in the July 2002 issue of Gramophone, was nominated for a Gramophone award and was a critic’s Disc of the Year choice in the December 2002 issue. Stephen also sang solo in the group’s Wigmore Hall debut in 2001, which was broadcast on Radio 3.
Other solo engagements have included Britten’s Abraham and Isaac, and Handel’s Messiah with Sir David Willcocks, both at the 2002 Three Choir’s Festival and Bach’s St Matthew Passion with Armonico Consort of which he was a founder member. In October 2003 Stephen sang solo in the choir’s debut at the Wigmore Hall with Emma Kirkby, in recently discovered works of Alessandro Scarlatti. He has also featured on the group’s recordings of works by Scarlatti and the Victoria Requiem on the Deux-Elles label.
In 1998 Stephen founded the Worcester Cathedral Chamber Choir to further his lifelong passion for conducting. He made his orchestral conducting debut in Worcester Cathedral in March 2000 with the combined Chamber and Cathedral Choirs and the London based Westminster Chamber Orchestra in Bach’s St. John Passion. Since then he has developed the choir’s repertoire and conducted them in performances including Brahms’ Requiem (version with two pianos); Handel’s Messiah, Haydn’s Nelson Mass and Durufle’s Requiem. Stephen has also directed the choir in six recordings: ‘ Sing Choirs of Angels’ (2002), ‘Jerusalem’ (2004), ‘A Worcester Evensong’ (2006), ‘Hodie’ (2009), ‘Rise Heart’ (2011), and ‘The Guest’ (2013).
Stephen formed the Worcester Chamber Orchestra to perform with the Chamber Choir and to develop his conducting career. Stephen has a thriving teaching practice. He teaches singing at the Elgar School of Music, the Worcester Sixth Form College. Stephen holds Performer’s Diplomas in Piano (LRSM) and Singing (ARCM).