Stephen Mitton (b. 1991) is a composer, performer, and educator based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He is currently pursuing his Doctorate in Music Composition at the University of Michigan where he has studied composition with Bright Sheng and Michael Daugherty. Stephen also holds a Master's degree in Music Composition from Arizona State University where he studied with Jody Rockmaker, James DeMars, and Rodney Rogers. Stephen has written socially and environmentally conscious music for a wide variety of genres ranging from contemporary dance to full orchestra. He is the recipient of numerous awards and grants and was most recently named MMTA's Commissioned Composer for the year 2021. He has received commissions from various performers across the country, as well as several groups and organizations including Winona State University, Chicago Public Schools, the Arizona State University Bands and Orchestras, the Arizona State University BioDesign Institute, and the Arizona Flute Society.


In his compositions, Stephen aims to grab audiences’ attention by generating short, memorable motifs and melodies that serve an overarching narrative or concept and is intrigued by the possibilities that open up when a variety of harmonic languages converge to this end: lush tonality interspersed with harmonies built on open fourths and fifths; Debussian flourishes juxtaposed with twelve-tone rows. His music is frequently centered on exploring the mental landscapes where memories, dreams, and obscure emotions overlap, often working with concepts like nostalgia, liminality, and the development or perception of one's sense of self as time passes. Mitton is also deeply engaged in music about humankind's impact on the environment and the Earth's immense biodiversity, having written music about plastics pollution in the oceans and wildlife conservation, among similar topics.


Stephen is also an active performer, with a bachelor’s degree in cello performance from Utah State University where he studied chamber music with the Fry Street Quartet. He has participated in master classes with such groups as the Emerson, Ying, and Brentano String Quartets, and has given well-received performances throughout the country. As an educator and pedagogue, Stephen has taught music at both the K-12 level and the collegiate level for over a decade, having held teaching appointments at Utah State University, Arizona State University, BASIS Charter Schools, and the University of Michigan. Much of Stephen's current work centers on championing emerging composers by facilitating commissioning projects with local ensembles and school districts through his publishing company, Leading Tones Music.

Recent Performances

March 14, 2021

University of Michigan Concert Band 

Premiere of Talking Points 

for chamber winds and fixed media

Feb 10, 2021

University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra New Music Concert

Premiere of Distance Humors 

for chamber orchestra

Oct 30, 2020

Indiana State University Contemporary Music Festival

Virtual performance of for Pierrot ensemble and mezzo-soprano on Indiana State University's Contemporary Music Festival (winner of the ISU Music Now competition)

Mar 14, 2020

CoLab: University of Michigan

Premiere of Crimson Strata for brass quintet at the University of Michigan 

Apr 14, 2019

Plastic Ocean: Communicating Crisis Through the Arts

Premiere of my third string quartet, Currents (commissioned by Amy Thacker), alongside a narrative drama about plastics pollution in Earth's oceans. Performed at Utah State University.

Nov 16, 2018

The Ear: A Composer Battle

Performance of Caricatures at the DiMenna Center, NYC in The Ear: A Composer Battle.

Jul 07, 2018

Oregon Bach Festival Composers' Symposium

Premiere of Albatross for Pierrot ensemble at the Oregon Bach Festival Composers' Symposium in Eugene, OR.

Oct 21, 2017

Flutes of a Feather

Premiere of my flute trio, Songs of the Sonoran at the Rio Salado Audubon Society. Commissioned by the Arizona Flute Society.

Apr 26, 2017

Science Exposed

Premiere of Stages, a "neuro-classical" composition about the effects of Alzheimer's disease, written in collaboration with Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute.

Performances at 6:00 and 6:30 in the Biodesign Atrium at ASU.

May 24, 2017

ASU Composition Studio Recital

Premier of Parhelion septet for Flute, Clarinet, Violin, Cello and Percussion in Katzin Concert Hall, Arizona State University.

Cullan Lucas, conductor

Feb 10, 2017

UNK New Music Festival XVI

Performance of Zapateado for Trumpet and Piano at the University of Nebraska at Kearney

Tim Farrell, trumpet

Thomas Prentice, piano

Nov 16, 2016

The Fire of Emerging Artists

Premiere of Chamber Symphony by the ASU Chamber Orchestras. Cullan Lucas, conductor.

Jun 11, 2016

7:30 PM

Chamber Music Institute Composers' Concert

Premiere of String Quartet No. 2 "Caricatures" at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Apr 23, 2016

12:00 PM

Phoenix Art Museum Concert

Performance of Cognitive Landscape for String Quartet at the Phoenix Art Museum.

Apr 18, 2016

7:30 PM

ASU Composition Studio Recital

Premiere of Cognitive Landscape for String Quartet at Arizona State University.

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