He was born in Seattle and studied harpsichord and composition at the University of Washington where, at the same time, he began to play the harpsichord and lute. He left America after graduation to study the instrument in England and Holland and gave his debut concert in London's Wigmore Hall in 1976. From 1981 to 2013, Stubbs has was teaching at the University of the Arts Bremen in Germany where he was as professor. In 2013, he became an artist in residence at the University of Washington in Seattle. He has performed extensively with his ensembles Tragicomedia and Teatro Lirico, and conducted baroque opera worldwide. He has recorded numerous albums with other famous ensembles like the Hilliard Ensemble and with Andrew Lawrence-King.
He moved back to Seattle in 2006. There he established a program for young professional singers called the Seattle Academy of Baroque Opera, the Pacific MusicWorks early music performance series, and is an adjunct professor at Cornish College of the Arts. He is artistic co-director (with Paul O'Dette) of the Boston Early Music Festival.
On February 8, 2015, Stephen was accompanied by his wife in Los Angeles as he won a Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording for: Charpentier: La descente d'Orphée aux enfers H 488, Paul O'Dette & Stephen Stubbs, conductors; Aaron Sheehan; Renate Wolter-Seevers, producer (Boston Early Music Festival Chamber Ensemble; Boston Early Music Festival Vocal Ensemble). In 2009, he recorded : Charpentier’s Actéon H 481, Orphée descendant aux enfers H 471, La Pierre Philosophale H 501 and in 2019 Les Plaisirs de Versailles H 480 and Les Arts Florissants H 487.
- Dickey, Timothy. Stephen Stubbs biography at AllMusic. Retrieved 12 December 2017.
- Kozinn, Allan (2006) "Music: Classical recordings; Bringing Early Music Into the 19th Century", The New York Times, April 30, 2006, retrieved 2011-07-13
- Kozinn, Allan (2000) "The Rare Crossover With Many Rewards", The New York Times, June 18, 2000, retrieved 2011-07-13
- "Become Ocean earns Grammy for Seattle Symphony". The Seattle Times. 8 February 2015. Retrieved 27 April 2015.
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