Stephen Harrap, born in Portsmouth in Southern England studied composition, piano and conducting at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London and at the London Opera Centre, now known as the National Opera Studio.

He then spent some years at the Frankfurter Opera House, playing harpsichord for conductors such as Ralf Weikert and Nikolaus Harnoncourt and conducting operette and opera.

After this period he worked as Kapellmeister for the Salzburg Landestheater and played the piano for the Salzburg Festival-premiere of un Re in ascolto by Luciano Berio, which Harrap also conducted later in the Royal Opera House Covent Garden as well as the French premiere in the Opera de la Bastille Paris.

During these years, he worked closely with other composers such as Hans Werner Henze, Karlheinz Stockhausen (Donnerstag aus Licht) and Peter Maxwell Davies, whose opera The Lighthouse he conducted in the Austrian Radio Studios in Salzburg.

Other orchestras, which he has conducted include The London Sinfonietta, Het Residentie Orkest, Den Haag, the Radio Orchestras of Milan and Turin and the Orchestra of Santa Cecilia Rome.

Since 2000 the accent of his work has been more on composition; he has received commissions from Cologne Cathedral, The Mass for World Peace; Münster State Theatre, The First Commandment; Guardini Foundation Berlin, Magnificat and Nunc dimittis; Brass Consort Köln Suite for Brass- Quintet which was premiered in the WDR-Funkhaus in 2010, and Veni Creator Spiritus and Ave Verum Corpus for Tim Brown and the Choir of Clare College Cambridge. Harrap was awarded the Rhein-Erft Culture Prize in November 2012 for services to music. A new Magnificat and Nunc dimittis for Clare College Choir Cambridge was premiered under the direction of Graham Ross in October 2014.

Members of the WDRSO played his new Sonata for tuba, harp, timpani, marimba and gongs in the Bismarck-Saal Cologne for the WDR chamber music concert series in the spring of 2015.

In May the Zürcher Sing-Akademie sang his new motet A hymn to God the Father (text: John Donne) in Utrecht and in Kerkrade for the Choir Festival „CantaRode“.

2018 Stefan Parkman conducted the premiere of Harrap’s Six motets about the Sea with the West German Radio Choir and Chamber group made up of musicians from the West German Radio Simphony Orchestra.

He still works as a composer, conductor and pianist.