Michael Gallant, Keyboard Magazine

keymag_largeStephan Carroll’s recording [Symphony No. 1 in G Major] is a full-blown, four-section 40-minute symphony — all recorded with a hybrid virtual orchestra consisting of pro sound libraries, custom samples, and freeware. The composer’s instruments are highly expressive and, given the well-hewn romantic music itself, you have to pinch yourself in order to remember that The Ocean Symphony didn’t come directly from live players. Inspired by a one-week beach vacation in North Carolina, the symphony is an exciting musical expedition indeed. “Opening Fanfare, the Journey & the Arrival” brings to mind both Tchaikovsky (one of Stephan’s primary influences) and classic John Williams film scores, while “The Storm” builds and thunders with raucous majesty. If you’re of the opinion that tonality is old news when it comes to contemporary classical music, you might just learn a thing or two from Mr. Carroll, Keyboard’s much-deserving Unsigned Artist of the Month.