Director of Steel Orchestras/CYSO Recording Coordinator
Scott McConnell is an active percussion/steelpan performer and educator. He can be found working with a number of steel ensemble programs in the Chicagoland area including the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras steel ensembles, William Hatch Elementary steel ensembles, and as a faculty member for the percussion and steelband session at Birch Creek Music Performance Center. As a member of these organizations Scott teaches, arranges, and performs on both steelpan and percussion.
Scott’s diverse and eclectic interest in learning many styles of music have led him to a portfolio career that include 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. As an advocate and representative of the steelpan, Scott co-founded Pastiche Steel Ensemble, a professional steelband that focuses on sharing the power and versatility of the steelpan through new collaborations and mediums. Pastiche created the Virtual Steelband, a project that brings pannists from around the world together virtually to premiere new steelband music. As a committee member of the Virtual Steelband, Scott helped bring to life Bella Vista and Pan Kingdom, two new steelband compositions.
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.
Who is your favorite composer and why?
My two favorite composers for steelpan are Andy Akiho and Jit Samaroo. Andy Akiho has been a leading force in bringing new sounds, styles, and collaborations to the steelpan while Jit Samaroo is one of the pioneering composers for the steelpan. His mastery of arranging for steelband is something that composers and arrangers still study and look up to today.
Fun fact about you that might surprise people
I used to play in a pop band that had a song featured in a Miramax movie!