10. Engaging with an Audience with Conductor & Harpsichordist Steven Devine

Steven Devine

Conductor & Harpsichordist

Sound & Storytelling…

Steven Devine is a conductor, harpsichordist and pianist who works with some of the finest musicians across the world. He has many recordings to his name: solo, as a member of an ensemble and as a director. Steven loves to explore new sound worlds, from early keyboards to 21st century Bach on synthesizers. He has a gift for engaging with audiences and delighting one and all with his comedic charm & musical sparkle.In Alexandria’s alternate life as a musician, she’s played with Steven many times over the years throughout the UK and further afield.

Listen to the full episode to hear stories of Steven’s most embarrassing moments on stage. And, yes, laughter guaranteed.

Steven’s Links

Inspiration

  • Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck. This has special sentimental value for Steven as it was his grandma’s favourite book, the beautifully named Grace Devine.“It’s an astonishing book. For me it was life-changing and still is – I still go back to it. It’s a go-to book for me”.

Steven’s Sound World

From early keyboards to 21st century Bach on synthesizers and satirical Covid sketches, Steven Devine has a diverse portfolio.

This episode features Art of Moog, the brainchild of harpsichordist Robin Bigwood. Art of Moog is an ensemble of classically-trained musicians that…

…swap old instruments for an array of Moogs, Nords, Rolands, vocoders, guitar pedals and an Akai wind-synth, to create scintillating soundscapes and atmospheres undreamt of 300 years ago.

Here’s a taste of this delightful new sound world…

Steven and his partner, soprano Kate Semmens, found a new creative outlet during lockdown. Here are a couple of their charming Covid satires…

Not familiar with the harpsichord?
Watch Steven’s demonstration for a personal guided mini-tour…

Creative Innovation

Yes, you can always develop new skills! Many performers and people who have had their livelihood transformed by the pandemic have needed to innovate.

Whether you want to develop video/audio editing skills, like Steven, to create content for fun or you are looking to develop an entirely new career path, there are so many possibilities!

Get yourself online. Skillshare and Masterclass are great places to start.

And I’ve personally found Ripple Training a great resource when it comes to developing your video editing skills.

Storytelling

Whatever content you create, storytelling is bound to be at the heart of it. Always take your audience with you on a journey. Engage with your audience and, like Steven, you can diffuse even the most awkward moments with a twinkle and a few well-chosen words.

Steven Devine considers essential ingredients in branding:

Kate, my partner, and I have learnt that branding doesn’t necessarily have to be sitting down and saying, okay, what are we going to look like? But it can be what do we do and how do we want to do it? So it’s become a package of kind of us being true to ourselves, but in a way that gives the listener, the viewer, some form of recognition.

Listen to the full episode to hear more about storytelling and performance…

Steven’s Coffee-Making Tips

  • Lavazza Rosso is my favourite brand – good balance between sweet and bitter. I know it’s sometimes frowned on by the purists but I haven’t got into the “roast your own” and our kitchen hasn’t got room for a grinder!
  • Water should not be scalding or too hot. It needs to not burn the coffee as it is forced through the espresso. Also, the coffee itself should slightly cool the water so that your coffee is already drinkable when it hits the cup. Even though my machine is basically automatic, there are settings for water temperature and hardness which I found made a difference.
  • Finally – keep things clean! Old coffee remnants in the filter, etc., do make a difference…

Style Notes

Simple, straightforward cool. Steven describes the Art of Moog aesthetic…

“It’s really simple. It involves very sort of cool black t-shirts and jeans & a very simple clean, colour wash for the whole thing. We’ve actually invested in a bit of lighting for ourselves as well, cause we kind of know now what we want it to look like. So, it’s a clean thing, but it’s a kind of good looking thing. I think we spent a lot of time even worrying about how the cables are going to be”…

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