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Stefán Örn, a native of Iceland, received his early music education in his home country as a cellist. While still a student, Stefán was invited to play with the national Icelandic Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Petri Sakari, Osmo Vanska, Paul Zukofsky, and Vladimir Ashkenazy, among others. He also played with the Icelandic Youth Orchestra, the Symphony Orchestra of the Northern Countries, and attended music festivals in the United States and England where he had the opportunity to study with musicians such as Raphael Wallfisch, Channing Robbins, and Sir Yehudi Menuhin.
After graduating from the Reykajvik College of Music, he went on to attain a Master’s Degree in Cello Performance from the University of Michigan under the instruction of Erling Blöndal Bengtsson. There, he also had the opportunity to work with Gustav Meier, inspiring his passion for conducting. Continuing to perform and conduct, Stefán became the main conductor for the Akureyri Student Orchestra, Kopavogur Student Orchestra, and the combined Youth String Orchestra of Iceland. Currently, he is conductor for the Symphony in C Summer Camp String Orchestra and the Rutgers University Camden Orchestra Ensemble. Equally experienced with musicals and stage productions, recent conducting projects include Once Upon Mattress and Henry Purcell’s The Fairy Queen.
Stefán has performed on several films, most notably Children of Nature, which won the European Film (Felix) Award for best soundtrack and received an Oscar-nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. Featured on various recordings, Stefán has also been an artist with the label Stef, and released a CD of his own composition for cello and harp—Duo—inspired by the sounds of Iceland’s nature. His compositions provided the soundscape for the Midnight Sun international fashion show.
As a music director and sound designer for theater, some of Stefán’s many projects include The Prophecy, winner of the national award for Best Children’s Play in Iceland and featured in the Annenberg Center’s international theater festival, The Concert, a one-man musical play by Stefán invited to the international theater festival in Finland, A Camden Christmas Carol, a John S. and James L. Knight Foundation project, and most recently True Story, a new critically acclaimed play mounted by the Passage Theater company.
Other recent works include As You Like it, Dracula, Angels in America, Measure for Measure, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Glass Menagerie, A Doll’s House, You Can’t Take It With You, Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Our Town. Stefán has also been the lead sound engineer for various artists, including Esmeralda Spalding, Philip Glass, Terence Blanchard, Omar Sosa, Marvin Hamlisch, DJ Spooky, Dan Zane, Geri Allen, and Jimmie Heath.
Stefán joined Rutgers University–Camden in 2005 and is the Theater Programs Director for the Gordon and Black Box theaters. He also teaches music, sound arts and recording, and conducts ensembles as part of the Fine Arts Department.