CYSO is excited to share that Scott McConnell will be taking the lead in our Steel Orchestras program, moving into the role of Director effective this month. Scott has been with CYSO since 2014, serving as Steel Orchestras Assistant during that time.
“I’m thrilled to begin as director with CYSO’s steel program,” Scott said. “I’ve watched it grow over the past four years and am excited to continue building the program and pushing our students to the best of their ability.”
Scott added that he looks forward to creating new performance and collaboration opportunities that will allow CYSO’s steel students to learn from other organizations and schools throughout the city. “We will continue to teach the students about the rich history and culture of the steelpan, as well as pushing the musical bounds of the instrument.”
Scott is an active percussion and steelpan performer and educator. His diverse and eclectic interest in music has included performances with the Illinois Festival Orchestra, the Harper College Orchestra, South East Steel Orchestra, Starlift Steel Orchestra, and the Carpe Diem String Quartet to name a few. In addition to his work at CYSO, he teaches steelpan with William Hatch Elementary School and serves as a faculty member for the percussion and steelband session at Birch Creek Music Performance Center. As an advocate for steelpan, he co-founded Pastiche Steel Ensemble, a professional steelband that focuses on sharing the power and versatility of the instrument through new collaborations and mediums. Through this Scott along with other founding members of Pastiche began another project called the Virtual Steelband where they were able to bring together 300 pannists from 11 countries to premiere a video of new steelpan music commissioned by the Virtual Steelband. This project provided an opportunity for steelpan musicians from around the world a chance to virtually perform together and show the distances the steelpan has spread.
Scott earned both undergraduate and masters degrees in percussion and steel pan performance from Northern Illinois University, studying with world-renowned pedagogues Cliff Alexis, Greg Beyer, Robert Chappell, and Liam Teague. Upon completion of his masters degrees, Scott continued his study with Liam Teague, complete a performer’s certificate in steelpan studies. In May 2014, Scott completed a second masters degree in recording media technology, studying with Grammy-winning recording engineer Dan Nichols. During this time, he worked as the graduate assistant and served as the mastering engineer for the NIU Steelband’s latest CD, Dangerous.