Biography of Steve Marsh

Biography of Steve Marsh
Steve Marsh was born in the market town of Chesterfield, Derbyshire in the heart of England. His introduction to the guitar was through the music of Bob Dylan; a close friend introduced Steve to Dylan's music, sold him a guitar, taught him some chords and after a few months Steve made his first public appearance in a 'folk' evening at a local girls' school where he performed Dylan's 'Don't Think Twice, It's Alright' and 'The Ballad of Hollis Brown' (after dropping his guitar during walking on stage!).

A short time afterwards he got together with another friend and started the Chesterfield Folk and Blues Club' which ran for several years and where he performed most weeks as the resident singer/guitarist. During those years many top folk guitarists would appear at the club and having watched many of them play their various mesmerising finger-picking styles Steve would then try to emulate many of these techniques and adapt them into his repertoire of songs (which still mainly consisted of Bob Dylan's music).

Steve's interest in the Classical Guitar came after hearing a recording of the music of J. S. Bach played by the great Spanish maestro, Andres Segovia and soon afterwards he began taking classical guitar lessons with local teacher, Frederick Baker (whose son, Fred T. Baker, is now a highly respected virtuoso bass player) and this led to Fred. (senior), Steve and another of Fred's students, Roger Pattison, forming The English Guitar Trio. Unfortunately, after only a few concerts together, the trio had to be abandoned due to Fred developing a hand injury.

Soon after this, Steve went to study at the Spanish Guitar Centre, Nottingham, U.K., under the guidance of one of the most respected teachers of the instrument, Robin Pearson. During this period he participated in several master-classes under the directorships of such prominent names as John Duarte, Graham Wade, Cheryl Grice and Stephen Gordon. After completing his studies with Robin (gaining an Associate of the London College of Music diploma), he became a professional guitarist, quickly building a reputation as a sympathetic, skilful and knowledgeable teacher of the instrument as well as performing many solo guitar recitals including recorded and live broadcasts for BBC radio.

In the late 1970's, he founded the Chesterfield Classical Guitar Society of which he was Chairman for over twenty years and during that time he organised numerous public concerts with many of the world's top classical guitar players coming to perform, many of which were recorded by the BBC for the Radio 3 series 'Music for Guitar'. Around the same time, he began informal, private concerts in his guitar studio; these were arranged a few times each year with many world-class guitarists being invited to play as well as 'up and coming' players who wanted the opportunity to perform in front of an audience. The concerts were mainly for the benefit of his students, giving them the opportunity to hear, close-up, excellent musicians playing wonderful music and these events still continue to be arranged. Guests in the past have included Alfonso and Irina Kircher, Robin Pearson and Kate Dickinson, Eleftheria Kotzia, Chris Kilvington, Galina Vale, Neil Smith, Arne Bratland and Nicola Hall as well as students from the Manchester Royal Northern College of Music.

At the beginning of the 1980's Steve began composing his own material;
initially being written specifically to use with his students but soon he was writing lengthy, more involved music to use in his concerts and to date he has written and arranged more than 300 pieces for various combinations of instrumentation including music for guitar solo, duo, trio and quartet, guitar and flute, guitar and violin, guitar and harp, guitar and voice and large guitar ensemble (including one piece for 35 guitars, bass, violin, percussion and vocals). One of his solo guitar works, Diabolo, was arranged for conventional orchestra and then for wind band by composer/conductor Michael Coe who gave first performances with the Derbyshire Youth Orchestra in 1999.

In 1981, Steve was lucky enough to have his first composition published - Le Reve de la Ballerina - and since then has had many books of his own compositions and arrangements published by various publishing houses around the world, including Mel Bay Publications (USA), Berben (Italy), Cambridge Music Works (UK), Hampton Music (UK), Chanterelle (Germany) and Edition Margaux (Germany). Many of these guitar compositions are used by teachers worldwide, and have been performed by some of the leading names in the world of classical guitar including Eleftheria Kotzia, Arne Brattland, the Eastwood/Kilvington duo (who gave the first performance of Marsh's Clumber Rain for two guitars at the Bolivar Hall, London), the Hill/Wiltchinsky duo (who gave the premiere of Marsh's Toccata for Two Guitars in 1989) and the Adam Khan/Luis E. Orias Diz Duo (who first recorded Clumber Rain on their premiere cd 'Interludio'). Another world-renowned duo, the Montes/Kircher guitar duo, included Steve Marsh's Homage to Paco de Lucia on their CD released in 1994 and plan to record Clumber Rain on a forthcoming CD.

Over the years, Steve's compositions and arrangements have been included in the examination syllabus for the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the Associated Board of the Royal College of Music as well as being used on ITV television and being in the list choice in guitar competitions.

In 1984 Steve Marsh was invited to join the reviewing team of the international magazine 'Classical Guitar' and has since then reviewed well over 2,000 new publications, recordings and concerts as well as contributing articles on technique and interviews with celebrated guitarists. Also in this year Steve teamed up with the Lancashire guitarist Paul Fowles, with whom he gave many concerts as well as releasing a recording of music for one and two guitars and broadcasting for BBC Radio Manchester.

In 1985 his composition for solo guitar, Circle's End, was chosen by one music critic as his 'Pick of the Year' and in the same year he gave a live, hour-long Christmas recital/interview for Sheffield Radio which included his composition, the very popular, 30 minutes' long Derbyshire Suite, a seven-movement solo guitar work which pays tribute to Steve's home county.

In 1987 he formed another partnership, this time with the renowned folk singer Judy Dunlop, who has been named as one of Britain's finest female vocalists. Together they have performed for BBC radio and at various folk clubs and festivals all over Britain, as well as recording two critically acclaimed recordings. After a break for a few years in the mid 90s to pursue other musical interests they reformed in 2003 and since then have given many concerts including annual Summer and Christmas 'mini' tours together with one of the folk music world's most celebrated figures, the legendary Ashley Hutchings, founder of Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span and The Albion Band.

Whilst performing folk concerts with Judy, Steve has also been involved with various other partnerships including one with the flautist and guitarist Elaine Thompson, and as the 'Thompson/Marsh Flute and Guitar Duo' they gave frequent performances together, many in historic settings such as Haddon Hall, Bolsover Castle, Sudbury Hall and two concerts at Wallington Hall in Northumberland to celebrate the centenary of the National Trust.

For several years Steve also partnered guitarist Lorraine Eastwood and whilst they were together several composers wrote works specifically for them, notably the beautiful piece titled 'Young' by one of the most highly respected figures in the world of the classical guitar, the Venezuelan guitarist/composer, Alfonso Montes.

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In 2014 my wife Nadia and myself formed The Ashlea Guitar Duo. Our current recitals comprised of guitar duets, guitar and recorder, guitar and clarinet and solos, include a wide variety of music ranging from Baroque, Spanish, South American, Classical, Popular, Jazz, Contemporary and also original material.

Steve also played the incidental guitar music on the best selling author and award-winning playwright Deric Longden's CD 'The Funny Thing Is...' and took part with Deric in the book-launch concert at the Derby Assembly Rooms.

In January 2000 Steve formed Lathkill Music Publishers, a music publishing business which specialises in music for the classical guitar although it also produces music for other instruments as well, including orchestra and string quartet. Composers and arrangers listed in the current catalogue include Karl Jenkins, Shuko Shibata, John Duarte, Gary Spolding, Evangelis Boudounis, Edmundo Vasquez, Sylvie Bodorova, Jurg Kindle, Brad Richter, Chris Dumigan, Mark Houghton, Neil Smith, Claudio Decorti, Karsten Brustad, Michael Bard, Owen Middleton, Paul Lewis, Gordon Giltrap, Ray Burley and of course, Steve Marsh.

In 2006 Steve began a project with guitar 'legend' Gordon Giltrap and together, under the publishing banner of 'The Troubadour's Music', they are planning to transcribe and publish all of the guitar music which Gordon has written during his 40 years in the music business. The first edition features all the tracks from the best-selling album 'Troubadour' and the official album launch was at a special concert given by Gordon at one of the UK's largest and most prestigious music stores, Professional Music Technology (PMT), Birmingham in July 2007.

Over the years Steve's reputation as a guitar teacher has spread far and wide and as well as local guitar students, many players travel from different areas of the country to study with him; a lot of whom have gone on to become professional musicians. For several years he was the specialist guitar examiner for Sheffield City Council's 'Music Service Centre', he was also a curriculum guitar teacher for Durham University. From 2000 to 2012 Steve was employed in his teaching capacity as one of the tutors at the annual Dillington Guitar Festival and Summer School at Dillington House, Ilminster, Somerset, one of the few guitar festivals in the world which concentrates entirely on ensemble playing and which attracts students from Europe, the USA and the UK. In 2011 he was one of the guitar tutors at the prestigious West Dean International Guitar Festival and Summer School.

Since 2000, Steve was the resident guitarist at the famous Peacock Hotel, Rowsley near Bakewell, Derbyshire where he performed most Fridays playing a mixture of guitar solos and, since 2015, guitar duets with his wife Nadia.

After living all his life in Derbyshire - Chesterfield and latterly, Bakewell - Steve has recently moved up to Scotland and lives just over the border in the lovely picturesque coastal village of Coldingham where he and his wife, Nadia, share their house with three dogs and a cat.

updated: 1 month ago