Violinist Steven Copes leads a diverse and enthusiastic musical life as soloist, chamber musician and orchestral leader. He joined the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra as Concertmaster in 1998, and since then has led the SPCO from the first chair in many highly acclaimed, eclectic programs. He appears frequently as soloist with the SPCO, having performed concerti by Bach, Beethoven, Berg, Brahms, Hartmann, Hindemith, Kirchner, Korngold, Lutoslawski, Martin, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Piazzolla, Prokofiev, Schnittke and Weill. In addition, he has performed as soloist with the Philharmonia Orchestra of London, the Colorado Symphony, Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra in Boston, the Sao Paolo State Symphony, the Orlando Philharmonic, The Knights, and the Mexico City Philharmonic.

A zealous advocate of the music of today, he gave the world premiere of George Tsontakis' Grammy-nominated Violin Concerto No. 2 (2003), which won the 2005 Grawemeyer award and has been recorded for KOCH Records, and also gave the NY premiere of Lutoslawski's Subito (1992) for Violin and Piano. In June of 2017 he gave the World Premiere of Pierre Jalbert's Violin Concerto with Thomas Zehetmair conducting the SPCO. He performed John Novacek's Four Rags with the composer on NPR's Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor, and has also appeared on the PBS series Now Hear This.

Other recent and upcoming solo engagements include the Berg Chamber Concerto with pianist Kirill Gerstein at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Hartmann's Concerto Funebre with the SPCO, the Berg Violin Concerto with the Orlando Philharmonic and Eric Jacobsen, Frank Martin’s Polyptyque with Josh Weilerstein and the SPCO, the Bartok Violin Concerto # 2 with the Colorado College Summer Music Festival Orchestra, the Shostakovich Violin Concerto #1 with Scott Yoo and the Mexico City Philharmonic, and a new arrangement of Prokofiev’s Violin and Piano Sonata #1 (for solo violin and Chamber orchestra) by Stephen Prutsman. He recently led a program with the New World Symphony in Miami which included Hartmann’s Concerto Funebre, and also performed the Brahms Violin Concerto with the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra in Boston and the SPCO last spring. This June he will perform Berg’s Violin Concerto (in a reduction for chamber orchestra) with Gabor Takacs-Nagy conducting the SPCO, and in Fall 2024, Mozart‘s Sinfonia Concertante with violist and SPCO Artistic Partner Tabea Zimmerman.

An avid chamber musician, Copes has performed at festivals and concert series such as Aspen, Boston Chamber Music Society, Bravo! Vail, Caramoor, Cartagena, Chamber Music Northwest, Chestnut Hill, La Jolla Summerfest, Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival, Mainly Mozart, Marlboro, Moritzburg, Mozaic, Norfolk, Olympic Music Festival, Piccolo Spoleto, Salt Bay Chamberfest, Santa Fe, Seattle Chamber Music Society, Skaneateles, Styriarte, and at other festivals across the globe. He co-founded the Alpenglow Chamber Music Festival in Colorado as well as Accordo, a chamber music collective in the Twin Cities made up of musicians from the SPCO and the Minnesota Orchestra, now in its second decade.

A frequent guest Concertmaster/Leader, Copes has recorded and toured extensively throughout Europe, Asia and the US with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, the Budapest Festival Orchestra, and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and has performed in the same capacity with the Baltimore Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Halle Orchestra, Houston Symphony, London Philharmonic, Melbourne Symphony, NDR ElbPhilharmonie Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, and the San Francisco Symphony under conductors such as Haitink, Temirkanov, I. Fischer, Masur, Nezet-Seguin, Gilbert, Harding, Jurowski, Nelsons, Ades, Tilson Thomas, Elder and Morlot. This spring he will tour Greece, Spain and Germany with the COE as guest leader as well as lead Beethoven 9 and Schoenberg’s ‘A Survivor in Warsaw’ with the NDR Elbphiharmonie under conductor Alan Gilbert.

A dedicated teacher as well, he has taught and coached at the Banff Centre in Canada, Curtis Institute of Music Summerfest, New World Symphony in Miami, Colorado College Summer Festival, East Carolina University, University of South Carolina, (Columbia), National Orchestral Institute in Maryland, Western Michigan University, Indiana University, University of Minnesota, University of Texas (Austin), Roosevelt University in Chicago, and Orford Academy in Quebec.

A native of Los Angeles, he holds degrees from The Curtis Institute and Juilliard, and his main teachers include Robert Lipsett, Aaron Rosand, Robert Mann and Felix Galimir for chamber music. He lives in St. Paul, MN with his wife Anne, two very sweet and funny daughters, Ella and Izzy, and their 100 lb. Bernese Mountain Dog, Coco.