Stefan Hofkes has been Musical Director of the RSO since 1997.
He was born in The Netherlands, where he studied piano and conducting at the Utrecht Conservatoire.
Under his prominent teachers, Alan Weiss, David Porcelijn and Alexander Warenberg, he concluded his studies with the coveted solo-recital diploma.
He furthered his conducting studies at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, with Christopher Seaman, winning the Ricordi Conducting Prize in 1996.
After his studies Stefan received extensive coaching and support from Bernard Haitink, who invited him for a work-experience period at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden.
Stefan also reached the final of the Tanglewood fellowship auditions, conducting the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Symphony Hall.
At present Stefan combines the Musical Directorship of Reading
Symphony Orchestra and Bristol Concert Orchestra with engagements throughout Europe, with orchestras including
the Transylvanian State Philharmonic, the Lisbon Metropolitan, the Maastricht Symphony, and the chamber orchestra Musica Ducis.
As conductor and pianist he has collaborated with a wide variety of prominent international soloists such as David Pyatt, Ashley Wass, Michel Letiec and Vladimir Mendelssohn,
and in light classics with pianist Louis Van Dijk and flautist Thijs Van Leer.
Stefan is Artistic Director of the annual “Opera!!” Festival at Beauforthuis in The Netherlands, conducting new productions of several Mozart operas, Cavalleria Rusticana, Hansel und Gretel, and others.
Most recently he appeared at the Amsterdam Beatrix Park Music Festival, conducting Mozart’s The Impressario.
As a pianist Stefan has performed in venues including the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, London’s Wigmore Hall and St. George’s in Bristol, and has made extensive concert tours throughout Europe and the Middle East.
Of his many CD recordings, a disc of Romantic Lieder with mezzo-soprano Jo De Vin received particular critical acclaim.
Young people have always had a special place in Stefan’s musical activities.
He conducts a regular series of family concerts throughout The Netherlands with personalities including comedian Ivo De Wijs and TV presenter Dieuwertje Blok,
and is Artistic Director of the “Music Live and Kicking” series at Beauforthuis.
Stefan's versatility has created a special relationship with the Royal Netherlands Embassy in London, enabling him to conduct and record major Dutch compositions at prominent concert venues.