Stacey Watton

Stacy Watton

“A versatile and accomplished artist” was how Classical Music Magazine described Stacey many years ago and the Scottish press heralded him as a ”A Wizard” of the Double Bass. Neither may have realised at the time that more versatilities and wand waving were to follow. Stacey is Principal Double Bass with the London Chamber Orchestra, the London Mozart Players, the Orchestra of the Swan, Primavera Chamber Orchestra, Chamber Domaine, the English Soloist’s Ensemble, the National Symphony and the Johann Strauss Gala Orchestras. He is also a Principal Bass for Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber. Stacey has also appeared as a guest principal with larger groups such as the Royal Concertgebouw, the Royal and London Philharmonics, the Hallé, the BBC Concert Orchestra, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. He is Principal Bass, Principal Conductor and Founder of the Esprit Ensemble LTD.

Stacey made his concerto début on the Bass at the age of thirteen and on the Piano at seventeen. He won the Eugene Cruft Prize for the Double Bass at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where he studied as a scholar and later became a professor. Stacey appeared live on Russian television and radio after becoming a prize winner at the first International Koussevitsky Double Bass competition in Moscow in 1995.

Having had a tremendously busy career as a concerto soloist, chamber musician and orchestra principal performing on recordings, live television and radio broadcasts, not to mention having a busy commercial career recording the sound tracks to numerous Hollywood films. Stacey has now embarked on a career as a conductor making his major London début conducting Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom sequel “Love Never Dies”. Continuing to show his adaptability he recently conducted Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll and Mahler’s very technical 4th Symphony, with some of the professions’ finest musicians at his own music festival with the ensemble he founded in 2002. The Mahler performance was well received and he was subsequently invited to become an Associate Music Director at Sir Cameron Mackintosh’s world famous epic show ‘Les Misérables.’ This in turn lead him to his current Associate Conducting position at Disney’s world famous ‘Lion King’ at the Lyceum Theatre in the heart of the West End. Stacey regularly flies to Finland to conduct, recently giving performances of Brahms 2, Dvorak 9, Elgar ‘cello concerto, Strauss Wind Symphony and Stravinsky’s Dumbarton Oaks. He has also appeared as guest conductor with the Milton Keynes City Orchestra conducting Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations along side his long time friend, and esteemed ‘cellist of the Tippett Quartet, Bozidar Vukotic.

Jorma Panula, legendary conducting guru, who mentored the likes of Esa Pekka Salonen, Sakari Oramo, Mikko Franck, Jukka-Pekka Saraste said, “Yes!! You describe the music!” after he saw Stacey conduct Dvorak’s 9th Symphony, with the Koupio Symphony Orchestra in Finland. Atso Almila, Jorma’s esteemed colleague and highly regarded composer, conductor and head of conducting studies at the Sibelius Academy said “Stacey has so much more to offer than just clear beating like most other conductors offer these days and he looks like he loves being on the podium. Even more interestingly his approach is humble, honest and non stuffy. He has a very positive charisma combined with a humble way of working with others and the music? – the essence of it.”
Stacey’s career as a soloist has seen him perform numerous concertos in prestigious venues throughout the world and is one of the few bassists in England to make regular concerto appearances. He was deeply honoured to perform Bottesini’s B Minor Concerto with the Bavarian Radio Chamber Orchestra at the Vredenburg International Chamber Music Festival in Utrecht, Holland. He impressed audience and colleagues alike at the ease at which he performed the technically challenging Dragonetti’s Grande Allegro with the wonderfully spirited London Chamber Orchestra at St John’s Smith Square, London. Stacey has also enjoyed sharing the recital stage with eminent ‘cellists Steven Isserlis, Torleif Thedeen, and Daniel Mueller-Schott. Performances with the “Mighty” Belcea Quartet and Ian Bostridge at the Gulbenkian International Music Festival Lisbon and Perth International Music Festival were also a highlight of his playing career. Other International artists such as Nigel Kennedy have commented that Stacey is a “remarkable talent”. Each year he is reunited with his chamber music family at Julian Rachlin and Friends International Festival in Dubrovnik, Croatia and at Janine Jansen’s International Chamber Music Festival in Utrecht, Holland. He is always very proud to be included in a family which also includes one of the most famous ‘cellists of all, Mischa Maisky and the ground breaking revolutionary Clarinettist Martin Frost. Oh and not forgetting Sir Roger Moore 007. See his Elephant on utube and all will be revealed.
Stacey is Principal Conductor and the Managing and Artistic Director of “The Esprit Ensemble Limited” and his recording company and session orchestra, “First Take Music”, regularly record for commercial sessions at Abbey Road Studios in London.