2020 Adjudicators

Steve Cowan


Steve CowanCanadian guitarist Steve Cowan has performed and taught extensively throughout Canada, the United States, and Europe. His critically acclaimed debut album, Pour guitare, features exclusively Canadian music and has helped to establish him as “one of Canada’s top contemporary classical guitarists” (Classical Guitar Magazine). He has commissioned several new works for guitar and given world premieres in major cities such as Paris, Toronto, and New York. 2018-2019 was a milestone season for Steve, including his concerto debut with Ensemble del Arte in Germany, his New York solo recital debut, and the release of a new album, “Arctic Sonata”, with the EMEC discos label in Madrid.

An active chamber musician, Steve performs regularly with Forestare, a Montréal-based string ensemble. In 2021, he will be a Chamber Music New Zealand touring artist with flutist Hannah Darroch, as well as a Prairie Debut touring artist with guitarist Adam Cicchillitti. At the inaugural 21st Century Guitar Conference in Ottawa, Steve and Adam commissioned and premiered 9 new electroacoustic works by the New York-based composer collective, ICEBERG New Music. The duo also released an album of Canadian guitar duets, titled FOCUS, on the Analekta label in October 2019.

Steve has won awards at 9 major national and international performance competitions, 7 of which are first prizes. A distinguished teacher, he has given public masterclasses at the University of Victoria, McMaster University, Conservatorium van Amsterdam, the Royal Danish Academy of Music, and more. Originally from St. John’s, Newfoundland, Steve holds degrees from Memorial University, the Manhattan School of Music, and McGill University. His former teachers include Sylvie Proulx, David Leisner, and Jérôme Ducharme. As of 2019, Steve is on faculty as a guitar instructor at Schulich School of Music of McGill University in Montréal.

Steve plays on guitars by Bruno Boutin.