Stephen Burke was born in North Yorkshire and studied at Chetham's School of Music and the RNCM. Whilst a student he was a semi-finalist in 1999 and a percussion finalist in the 2002 BBC Young Musician. An interest in contemporary music and music from other cultures led him to spend a year studying in Holland, where he performed with the Dutch National Opera and Steve Reich. He also studied Swiss Basle drumming and Senegalese percussion.
Since moving to London in 2004 to study at the Guildhall, Stephen has worked as a freelance musician in a variety of fields. He has been guest principal with period music ensembles including the Hanover Band, New London Consort and London Handel Orchestra. He also works with modern orchestras such as the Philharmonia, BBC Symphony Orchestra and English Chamber Orchestra and further afield with the CBSO, Hallé, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, RLPO and RTÉ in Dublin. Chamber music venues have included the Barbican, Wigmore Hall, Kings Place and the Aldeburgh Festival. In recent years he has worked with many composers including John Adams, George Benjamin, Charles Camilleri, Peter Maxwell Davis, I Wayan Dibia, James McMillan, Steve Reich, Peter Wiegold, and I Nengah Susila. He collaborated with artist Cerith Wyn Evans on a sound art installation “Eaux d’artifice.”
Always aiming to keep his work diverse Stephen performs with Balinese Gamelan Lila Cita and enjoys improvising and composing using acoustic and electronic sound worlds. He is currently working on Mikrophonie I by Stockhausen.