Vanderbeek & Imrie Composers

Robert Steadman

Robert Steadman

Robert Steadman was born in Chiswick, London on April 1st 1965. He was brought up in Basingstoke, attending the Richard Aldworth School, before studying on the Pre-Professional Music Course at Cricklade College, Andover. In 1984, he gained an Associate of the Royal College of Music (A.R.C.M.) in tuba performance.

He read music at Keble College, Oxford, graduating in 1986. During his time at Oxford, Robert was the musical director of many shows and, notably, became President of the Oxford Revue Company working with Armando Ianucci and John Sparkes.

In 1995, Robert moved to the East Midlands and, following his marriage to Tracy Fudge in 2000, he moved to Matlock, Derbyshire. They have one son and two daughters.


While much of Steadman’s output has been written for amateurs and young musicians, he has also written several pieces of music for the percussionist Evelyn Glennie, for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, for London Brass Virtuosi, for the saxophonist Sarah Field and for the East of England Orchestra (now Sinfonia ViVA). He has written two symphonies and two operas, but is probably best known for his choral music. He has also written a great deal of chamber music, including several pieces for the Holywell Ensemble. One of his anthems was used at the memorial service for the Dunblane Massacre. He even branched out into radio jingles and penned a song for the BBC Radio One DJ, Chris Evans.

Amongst a number of commissions by a variety of performers to mark the Millennium, Robert was commissioned to compose two pieces which were performed in the Millennium Dome: Nottingham Songbook – a set of songs about the City of Nottingham, its famous people and places; and Sturdy as the Oak – a piece of music for orchestra.

Choral music

  • Mass in Black is a setting of the Requiem (in Latin) with additional texts from Nostradamus and about ‘green politics’ commissioned by Basingstoke Choral Society with funds from John Lewis.
  • Magnificat sets the ‘Song of Mary’ from the Gospel of Luke for soprano and baritone soloists with choir and orchestra.
  • In Memoriam is an 80-minute work commissioned to mark the 50th anniversary of the end of the World War Two for soprano and tenor soloists, choir and orchestra and includes parts for air raid siren and wardens shouting into megaphones on the subject of remembrance.
  • Gloria uses the same vocal and instrumental forces as the famous setting by Vivaldi and was commissioned (with funds from the National Lottery) by the Sinfonia Chorale Chamber Choir.
  • The Ashtead Psalms sets three psalms for soprano, children’s choir, choir and orchestra and was commissioned by the Ashtead Choral Society.
  • Tehillim for Anne is a setting of three Hebrew psalms  for choir and string orchestra written to mark what would have been Anne Frank’s 75th birthday.
  • Missa Brevis for unaccompanied SATB choir

Orchestral music

  • The Elements: A chamber symphony uses the classical elements of Fire, Water, Wind, and Earth as influences for its four movements.
  • Symphony No 1: A symphony of dreams is written for soprano and small orchestra and makes use of texts about Gandhi and JFK.
  • Nottingham 100 is a single-movement fanfare for orchestra commissioned by the City of Nottingham to mark the centenary of its city status.
  • Symphony No 2: The Death of Stalin is for soprano solo, large choir and large orchestra and tells about the extraordinary events surrounding the death of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin.
  • Symphony No. 3  for strings, piano and soprano saxophone

Steadman has also arranged folk songs for orchestra, including She Moves Through the Fair and Simple Gifts.

Music for the theatre

Robert has written two operas:

  • Sredni Vashtar, with the author Richard Adams based on the Saki short story.
  • The Box of Delights, with a libretto written by John Masefield based on his children’s fantasy book of the same title.

Robert also wrote a mini-opera for children, The Travelling Circus, which was commissioned by the West Oxfordshire Arts Association; it lasts just twelve minutes.

As well as the music for a number of plays and dance productions, including Animal Farm, Blood Wedding and A Christmas Carol, Robert has written two musicals with writers Paul and Sharon Sansom:

  • The Girls’ Book of Heroines — a love story set during the Second World War.
  • Remote Control —  which takes a satirical look at the world of celebrity and reality game shows.

Chamber music

Robert has written a wide range of chamber music and instrumental solos including: By the Railway Sidings: a sonata for piano (written for Amanda Hurton); Bubble’s Gonna Burst Soon for brass quintet (written for the Apollo Brass Quintet); Still Life with Quartet for clarinet, violin, ‘cello & piano (commissioned by the City of London Freemen’s School); Ten Little Indians: an A-Z of the brass ensemble for 10-piece  brass ensemble (commissioned by London Brass Virtuosi); The Rains are Coming for saxophone quartet (written for The Fairer Sax); Your Jumper’s Very Woolly for piano trio (premiered by the Holywell Ensemble at the British Music Information Centre).

Music for wind band

  • Challenge the Rainbow which was commissioned by Richmond School Wind Orchestra as an avant-garde work that schools and amateurs could perform.
  • floccinauci… for flute and oboe soloists with wind band was premiered in Denmark in 1994.
  • The Dethe of Robyn Hood for narrator and wind band which was premiered in Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire.
  • …space turned and twisted in on itself based on the Stanley Kubrick movie 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • Did you buy a Porsche yet? for large flute, clarinet and saxophone ensembles.
Audio samples

You can listen to samples of some of Robert’s music on his website here.

Cover of 'Mr De Mille, I'm ready for my close-up' CD by Robert Steadman

Mr DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up

A CD of Robert’s chamber music performed by the Holywell Ensemble was released in 1998 on the new MAPA MUNDI label and a CD of his music for saxophone was released in 2001.

Listen to samples from the CD (used with permission) below:

‘Your Jumper’

‘Mr. DeMille’

‘Still Life with Quartet’