Steven Daverson

Tutor in Composition

BMus (Hons, GradRNCM), MMus, DMus (RCM)


Steven Daverson (Northampton, 1985) is an alumnus of the RNCM and the Royal College of Music, studying under David Horne, Jonathan Cole and Mark-Anthony Turnage. He also attended the Britten-Pears Young Artists course in Aldeburgh as well as the Summer Courses in Darmstadt, the Impuls Academy in Graz, and IRCAM in Paris, receiving tuition from Pierluigi Billone, Chaya Czernowin, Brian Ferneyhough, Beat Furrer, Oliver Knussen, Magnus Lindberg, Enno Poppe, and Rebecca Saunders, among many others.

Steven’s work has been featured at festivals across the UK and Europe, including the Aldeburgh Festival, the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Darmstadt Ferienkurse, Music of Today, Traiettoria Parma and the Wittener Tage für Neue Kammermusik; performed by ensembles such as the Arditti Quartet, Ensemble Contrechamps, Ensemble Modern, Ensemble Recherche, Klangforum Wien, London Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Moscow Studio for New Music, and broadcast widely across Europe. A CD of selected chamber and ensemble works, Shadow Walker, is available on the Col Legno label.

In 2011, Steven became the youngest-ever recipient of the Composer’s prize of the Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung, one of the most prestigious prizes in contemporary music. He was also the winner of the Royal Philharmonic Society Composer’s Prize for 2011 and the Fifth Jurgenson Composition Competition in 2010.

Recent projects include an extended work for Ensemble Recherche entitled Filonov’s Microscope, commissioned by the Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung and WDR, premièred at the Wittener Tage für Neue Kammermusik in May 2014, and a revised version of Arkanar: A Report from the Interior for microtonal tuba and live electronics, performed at the Darmstadt Ferienkurse in 2018.

Steven is a member of PRiSM, the RNCM’s Centre for Practice and Research in Science and Music.


Personal Website

Current and Future Research

  • Work on a Max-based software for composers planning music in multiple simultaneous temporal layers, in the manner of Stockhausen’s Gruppen or Birtwistle’s Theseus Game. The program will deal with the mathematical processes that are an inherent part of this kind of music, and allow for greater musical flexibility and accuracy than has thus far been possible, with applications for making click-tracks quickly and easily to facilitate the performance of the music.
  • Developing from an existing fascination with the ‘impossible spaces’ in the work of the American novelist Mark Z Danielewski, a musical exploration of the same concept in the work of other artists, writers, and scientists including Paul Klee, Jorge Luis Borges, Giovanni Battista PiranesiAlexander Brodsky and Ilya Utkin, Werner Heisenberg, Lars von Trier and, above all, Andrei Tarkovsky. This will provide a fruitful extra-musical basis for the research into multitemporailty above.
  • An investigation into the internal structures and expressive potential of various catalogue-like works as the basis for new compositions, drawing on composers, writers, and directors such as Gèrard Grisey, Jennifer Walshe, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Jorge Luis Borges, Michel Foucault, and Peter Greenaway.

Research Funding

  • PRS Foundation Composers’ Fund Grant (2018) for a new work, La Nitroglycérine des Lumières, for Ensemble Nikel
  • Regular commissions from festivals and organisations including the Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung, Darmstadt Ferienkurse, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Harry and Alice Eiler Foundation, Hepner Foundation, Royal Philharmonic Society, and Westdeutscher Rundfunk.
  • Regular support from funding bodies including Sound and Music, Help Musicians UK, Bliss Trust, PRS Foundation, The Leverhulme Trust, and The RVW Trust.

Undergraduate Teaching

  • Principle Study Composition 
  • Composition Techniques

Research Supervision

Secondary Supervisor:

  • Elspeth Brooke (Composition): ‘The Application of Cinematographic Techniques and Aesthetics of Proximity and Perspective in Antonioni’s L’avventura to Musical Composition’

Professional Activity

Current composition projects include:

  • La Nitroglycerine des Lumières: A new work for electric guitar, saxophone, percussion, piano, devices, and live electronics for Ensemble Nikel, commissioned by the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival and the PRSF Composers’ Fund, and drawing on the Lumière Brothers’ groundbreaking 1896 film Dèmolition d’un mur. 
  • Figures Outside a Dacha, With Sunrise: A new work for solo piano drawing on haunting scenes from Andrei Tarkovsky’s Nostalghia.

Teaching External to the RNCM:

  • Visiting Lecturer in Compositition at City University London
  • Tutor in Composition in the Music Faculty at the University of Cambridge