After studying piano, conducting and composition at Florida State University B.M 1965 with Honors, M.M 1967, Stephen Montague received a Doctor of Musical Arts in composition from Ohio State University in 1972. He did additional study in conducting at the Mozarteum, Salzburg, Austria, 1966, computer music at IRCAM, Paris, 1981, and at Stanford University, California, 1984. He was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship/Polish Cultural Grant to work at the Experimental Music Studio of Polish Radio, Warsaw, Poland, 1972–74.
Montague was born and educated in the US, but lived in Warsaw, Poland (1972–74) on a Fulbright Fellowship, and since 1974 in London working as a freelance composer, pianist, conductor touring worldwide. His music has been performed at numerous international festivals, including the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall in London, Royal Festival Hall, the Warsaw Autumn festival, the Paris Festival d'Automne, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., Bang On a Can (NYC), Adelaide, Hong Kong and Singapore Festivals.
He has been commissioned by such sources as the BBC Proms, the Royal Festival Hall (London), Barbican Centre (London), New Music Biennale (UK), Birmingham Royal Ballet (UK), the National Portrait Gallery (London), the Royal Ballet (UK), British Telecom (for the London Symphony Orchestra), the Trans Atlantic Arts Consortium (UK/US), the Calgary Philharmonic (Canada), the Hilliard Ensemble, the Smith Quartet (UK), pianist Stephen Kovacevich, percussionist Evelyn Glennie, harpsichordist Elisabeth Chojnacka, and the International Computer Music Association.
As a pianist, he has recorded for many European radio networks and has performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. In 1985 he formed a duo with pianist Philip Mead, Montague/Mead Piano Plus which toured internationally. His conducting specialty is 20th and 21st century music and has included work with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, and City of London Sinfonia amongst others. In addition, Montague has created multi-channel electroacoustic sound environments in collaboration with the sculptor, Maurice Agis in Agis's large Colorspace and Dreamscape inflatable sculptures, and composed a number of music theatre works for outside spaces such as his Horn Concerto for klaxon horn soloist with an orchestra of automobiles, and [Bennett's Bike Concerto for piano soloist (World Superbike Champion, James Toesland), symphonic brass ensemble, percussion and 8 motorcycles for the 2007 World Superbike Championships, Brands Hatch Race Track (UK). He has organised and directed 11 John Cage - Musicircuses including John Cage Centennial celebration (2012) performances at English National Opera (The London Coliseum) and at the Old Royal Naval College (Greenwich) in 2012.
Although a long term British resident (dual national - US/UK since 2000) his compositional influences are transatlantic. He commented in a BBC radio interview: "I have lived in Britain since 1974 but my musical heroes remain American: I admire Charles Ives's unapologetic juxtaposition of vernacular music and the avant-garde, Henry Cowell's irreverent use of fist and arm clusters, the propulsive energy of minimalism, and John Cage's radical dictum that 'all sound is music'. And, like Henry Cowell, I want to live in the whole world of music, not just one corner. I am equally at home writing for a large professional symphony orchestras, chamber groups, solo works, ballet, contemporary dance, music theatre or experimental works like, for example, motorcycles, brass, percussion and piano".
In the UK, Montague was a founder of Sonic Arts Network in 1980, ran the Sonic Arts concert series at London's ICA from 1982–86, served as Chair of the SPNM (Society for the Promotion of New Music) during 1993-97, and was Associate Composer with The Orchestra of St. Johns, Smith Square, London, 1995 - 97. He has been a Guest Professor at the University of Texas - Austin, 1992, 1995, 2000 and at the University of New Zealand in 1997. Recent Composer Portraits of his music have taken place in London, New York, Chicago, Columbus, Houston, Mexico City, Vienna, and Budapest.
His awards include the International Piano Magazine Award: "Best Contemporary Piano Music Recording 2006" for the CD of his piano music Southern Lament on NMC label (UK), Fellow of Leeds College of Music (FLeedsCM), 2004, Honorary Fellow Trinity College of Music (HonFTCL), 2001, Ohio State University Distinguished Alumnus Award, 2000, "Distinction in Computer Music", Ars Electronica Prix, Linz, 1996, the Ernst von Dohnányi Citation for Excellence in Composition, 1995, and "First Prize" at the Bourges International Electroacoustic Music Competition (France) in 1994.
In addition to his freelance work Montague was the New Music Associate at Cambridge University's Kettle's Yard Art Gallery, 2010 -2012 (UK) where he curated Kettle's Yard Gallery's monthly contemporary music series. He also teaches composition and orchestration (one day a week), at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance London, and is published by United Music Publishing (UK)