Stephen Gardner was born in Belfast in 1958 and studied at the University of Ulster and University of Wales from 1984 to 1990.
His first commission was ‘Wanting, Not wanting’ in 1992. An RTE commission in 2004 was called ‘Never… Never… Never…’ . Both works express his response to The Troubles.
“I grew up in a loyalist estate, north of Belfast. There was trouble, now and again, but it was mostly a great place to grow up in. I did have an uncle who was murdered in 1978, but the effects of the Troubles were probably more subliminal. I did feel I needed to express my feelings about it in 2 works. Specifically I have used the music of ‘The Sash’ in about 6 works, but only ‘Jigs and Reels’ (2014), for string quartet, made the tune explicit.