When Stephen was in the third grade, he moved with his family from the relative cultural desert of the San Fernando Valley to a beautiful big house in the lovely Cal Tech district of Pasadena. Stephen loved all the richness Pasadena afforded him as a young boy, and sees the Pasadena Schubertiade as an opportunity to show his appreciation.
By age 5, Stephen began to compose his own piano compositions, eventually taking formal lessons from Marlene Fazzi Puccinelli. A member of the boy choir at St. Philip the Apostle Church, he also sang with six of his siblings as the Grimm Family Choir, winning the Pasadena Rotary Club ‘Search For Talent’ at the Civic Auditorium. Stephen remembers fondly singing Handel’s Messiah with the Pasadena Chorale and Symphony under the direction of then conductor Richard Lert. Stephen continued music, piano and vocal studies while attending Loyola High School, Thomas Aquinas College and Cal State Northridge, where he studied with Francoise Regnat. At Cal State Los Angeles he stretched his operatic wings, eventually performing over 15 principal baritone roles there under the direction of Heinz Blankenburg. He has been a member of the Los Angeles Master Chorale since 1987, and has been featured soloist in works of Britten, Bach, Pergolesi, Remick Warren, Vaughan Williams et al.. Stephen sang the role of High Priest in the St. Matthew Passion with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under the baton of Evangelist/conductor Peter Schreier. He also appeared with the Philharmonic at the Ojai Festival in Poulenc’s Mamelles des Tiresias conducted by Sir Simon Rattle. Stephen toured to New York for the Philharmonic’s performances of El Nino by John Adams, staged by Peter Sellars. Mr. Grimm was selected to prepare the Los Angeles Master Chorale in performances of Shostakovich’s Symphony No.2 and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony for Esa Pekka Salonen. For the past 14 years Stephen has been the conductor of Pasadena Pro Musica Chorus and Orchestra and director of music at Neighborhood U.U.Church.
Keenly interested in fostering talent in young people’s lives, Stephen tutors privately and directs two choruses for youth (the Crown City Children’s Chorus for grades 3-8, and the Crown City Vocal Ensemble for grades 9-12) in addition to directing the adult church choir.
As is fitting for the city in which he lives, Stephen has movie industry credits as well. You can hear him as the voice of a tornado in Twister, singing David Bowie’s Space Oddity in Mr. Deeds, and demonically chanting “Sanguis Vita Est” (“Blood is Life”) in Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
“I love the excitement of studying great music and communicating that excitement to the orchestra and chorus – that’s really the best thing”, he says.