When Stephen De Pledge was a child, he played his little xylophone most of the time back in Wairarapa, New Zealand. After they realised that he sort of had some interest in music, it prompted his parents to get him a piano. Years later, this small decision led Stephen to an international career as a pianist.
”I can’t remember a time when I didn’t assume I would somehow do music as a career, but I didn’t quite know what that would be until I was in my 20s,” stated the Auckland-based pianist. Growing up, he also played the viola and oboe aside from the piano. He also enjoyed conducting, singing and many various aspects of music. His decision to focus on piano only came when he was 22 years old. At that point of his life, he was also furthering his studies in London. According to him, he was drawn to the piano due to the wide repertoire and variety of music. This drew huge possibilities for him compared with the solo repertoire of the other instruments he was versatile in.
After spending a total of 20 years in London, he returned back to New Zealand just three years ago. He was given the opportunity to become a piano teacher at Auckland University. This also allowed him to perform as well. This enabled him to have a better work-life balance compared to when he was travelling and performing all the time. Considering the fact that Stephen has four children, this was a much more feasible career.
Stephen enjoys many aspects of piano, but his favourite still has to be chamber music as it allows him to work with others. ”Concertos I see as a kind of chamber music. I know it’s the piano stuck out the front, but it actually is a sort of collaboration with conductor and orchestra and piano all working together. That’s what I love about it. We pass the melodies over to each other and sometimes the piano’s working as a kind of accompanist to the orchestra. It’s sort of coming and going into the light and back into the shadow rather than just being in the spotlight the whole time,” he said. For the rest of the story, you can read it from here.