Stevens, Bernard (George)
- Malcolm MacDonald
(b London, March 2, 1916; d Colchester, Jan 6, 1983). English composer. Educated at Southend High School, where he was taught music by Arthur Hutchings, he then studied English and, with Dent and Rootham, music at Cambridge (1934–7; MusD 1968). Subsequently he studied with R.O. Morris and Jacob at the RCM (1937–40). His op.1, a violin sonata in the economical three-movements-in-one design Stevens was often to employ, attracted the attention of Max Rostal when Stevens's fiancée became his pupil in 1940. Rostal performed the sonata and commissioned a violin concerto, which Stevens wrote while on army service. Already, during the Blitz, he had started composing the piece which brought him brief national celebrity: the Symphony of Liberation, which won the Daily Express competition for a ‘victory symphony’. Sargent conducted the LPO in the première at the Royal Albert Hall (7 June 1946); the same year Rostal gave the first performance of the Violin Concerto in a BBC broadcast....