Born in 1950 into a family of amateur musicians, Steve Houben studied the flute before turning to the saxophone on the advice of his cousin, the famous Jacques Pelzer, who introduced him to the world of jazz. Together, with Micheline Pelzer on drums, they form the Open Sky Unit group.
In the mid-1970s, he studied at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and, upon his return, created (along with Henri Pousseur) the Jazz seminar at the Conservatoire de Liège; one of the first jazz schools in Europe.
During this period, he toured Europe with American musicians and formed the groups Solstice, then Mauve Traffic (with Bill Frisell, Greg Badolato, Kermit Driscoll, Michel Herr and Vinnie Johnson with whom he worked in Europe and recorded the album "Oh Boy").
He then performed alongside legendary artists such as Chet Baker (with whom he recorded an album), Mike Stern, Gerry Mulligan, Clark Terry, Jon Eardley, Red Mitchell, Ed Thigpen, Toots Thielemans, Philip Catherine etc...
An eclectic artist, Steve has undertaken an enormous variety of work, from the "fusion" group Cocodrilo to contemporary music with Henri Pousseur. He’s been part of the Belgian-Tunisian group "Anfass" and the traditional European music group "Panta Rhei" of which he is the founder. In February 2001, Toots Thielemans invited him to his "carte blanche" at the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels. His musicality, his sense of improvisation and swing, his constantly renewed creativity, make Steve Houben a recognised artist in the world of jazz.
Having been elected as the best Belgian alto saxophonist and best Belgian and European flutist in the poll organised jointly by RTBF and VRT in 1998, he went on to receive the Django d'or in 2000.
As an educator, Steve Houben has taught saxophone teacher at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels and, from 2012 to 2015, was Director of the Royal Conservatory of Liège. He is a Member of the Royal Academy of Belgium.
The recent end of his teaching career marks the beginning of a renewed presence on the international jazz stage.