about
Steven Tanoto is a composer and arranger based in Hamburg, Germany.
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Steven’s earliest compositions were strongly influenced by the American Minimalist movement introduced to him by his first music and composition teachers Leong Dee Yinn and the Malaysian composer Adeline Wong.

Steven studied composition at the Elder Conservatorium of Music in Adelaide, South Australia with Stephen Whittington, Graeme Koehne, and Charles Bodman Rae. Groups that have performed his works include the Australian String Quartet and the Elder Conservatorium Chamber Orchestra. This lead to commissions from other individuals and ensembles, including Bella Voce and the Eclectica Trio.

After completing his studies, Steven moved to Hamburg, Germany, to study at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg with the former Ligeti student, Wolfgang-Andreas Schultz.

With musical theatre being his favourite musical expression, Steven often works closely with theatrical directing students of the academy. This collaboration results in chamber orchestra arrangements of existing operas, including Martinu’s Ariadne (2013), Puccini’s Suor Angelica (2014), Goldmark’s Königin von Saba (2014), and Debussy’s Pélleas et Mélisande (2015).

Since 2014, Steven is also involved with the annual Non-Piano/Toy Piano festival organised by Hamburg-based pianist, Jennifer Hymer, providing new compositions and arrangements for ensembles focused on the toy piano that have been performed by musicians specialised in new music, such as pianists Bernhard Fograscher and Ninon Gloger, percussionist Stefan Weinzierl, and singer Marcia Lemke-Kern.

Steven also often accompanies singers and opera/theatre rehearsals, including the Little Shop of Horrors (Alan Menken), HMS Pinafore (Gilbert & Sullivan), Into the Woods (Stephen Sondheim). As musical director, he directed a double bill of the Telephone (Menotti) and Cox and Box (Sullivan) in 2010 at the Adelaide Fringe Festival.

In 2012, Steven embraced his Indonesian culture and joined the Central Javanese Gamelan ensemble Margi Budoyo of the Indonesian General Consulate in Hamburg under the guidance of Pak Maharsi. Ever since then, it has been his passion to learn more about Central Javanese Gamelan music. October 2016 marked his first collaboration with Martin Ehrhardt and his Gamelan Taman Indah in Leverkusen, performing at the Debussy Festival in Frankfurt. From September 2017 onwards, he will be leading and teaching the Gamelan group of the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg.

When not doing music related activities, Steven is passionate about concocting all sorts of (mostly Indonesian) dishes and travelling to other cities in Europe to catch performances of his favourite Wagner operas.