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Born Bernard George Stevens in
He was then at the
In 1946 his First Symphony, entitled Symphony of Liberation, won first prize in a competition sponsored by the Daily Express newspaper for a 'Victory Symphony' to celebrate the end of the war with a premiere at the Royal Albert Hall. In 1948, he was appointed Professor of Composition at the
From 1967, he combined his RCM professorship with one at the
Stevens was associated with other Communist intellectuals, such as his friends Alan Bush and Randall Swingler; in fact, his `The True Dark’ is a `song cycle’ from the epic poem by Randall Swingler. He was also long active in the Workers’ Music Association.
As a professorial examiner of music students, he travelled widely, especially in
He composed in every major genre: orchestral, oratorio, opera as well as solo and chamber works but was seemingly modest in promoting his own work. In recent years all of Steven's major orchestral and chamber works have been recorded posthumously.