"What we experienced Jan. 21 was in a class of its own, and conductor, arranger, pianist, performer, and designer Steve Hackman owned it." NUVO Newsweekly
"Blending [Bach and Bon Iver] with such fluidity that you couldn't tell where one left off and the other began... and, more importantly, you wouldn't want to try." Philadelphia Inquirer
"His conducting is clear and efficient, and the performances he elicited of Brahms and Beethoven from CMF's excellent orchestra were eloquent." Boulder Camera
Conductor, composer, arranger, producer and songwriter Steve Hackman is one the most innovative artists contributing to a new landscape in classical music. Fluent in both classical and popular repertoire, he crafts virtuosic, cross-genre works and performances that intrigue the established audience and engage an excited new one.
Hackman presents programs he architects that synthesize orchestral and pop masterworks. He has performed his pieces such as Brahms + Radiohead, Beethoven + Coldplay, Copland + Bon Iver and Bartók + Björk with the symphony orchestras of Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Alabama, Florida, North Carolina, Charlotte, Columbus and the Colorado Music Festival.
In 2016-2017, Hackman continues as creative director and conductor of FUSE@PSO, a genre-defying series at the Pittsburgh Symphony that has introduced the symphony and its repertoire to thousands of new listeners. Created in 2015, the series has received accolades from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Tribune-Review, Pittsburgh Quarterly magazine, Whirl magazine, Table magazine, Next Pittsburgh and Made in PGH. On March 8, 2017, KDKA-TV's Pittsburgh Today Live led with the story "Pittsburgh Symphony's FUSE Series getting rave reviews.”
In April 2017, Hackman will conduct the Nashville Symphony and in June will make his debut with the Boston Pops, conducting four concerts June 8 – 11. He will return to the Pittsburgh Symphony later in June, then to the Colorado Music Festival in July for the premiere of his next mashup, Classicalapalooza, a trip through an imaginary music festival where both classical masterpieces and pop hits are performed.
In summer 2016, Hackman conducted the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh at the Three Rivers Arts Festival in Pittsburgh and the Oglebay Park Summer Concert Series in West Virginia. The program, entitled “Defying Gravity,” featured several new mash-up arrangements of Hackman's, including Mozart with The Beatles, Mahler with John Mayer, and Randall Thompson's Alleluia with Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah. Hackman's work as an artistic innovator was recently recognized by an invitation to speak at the TedX Conference.
From 2013 to 2015, Hackman was music director of the "Mash-Up" series at the Colorado Music Festival. From 2009 to 2013, Hackman served as co-creative director of the Happy Hour at the Symphony Series with the Indianapolis Symphony, where, along with co-artistic directors Time For Three (TF3), he pioneered a new type of concert experience by producing, arranging/composing and conducting compelling presentations that blended classical with pop. He returns as guest conductor annually.
Hackman mirrors his work on the classical side as a producer, DJ and songwriter on the pop side under the moniker :STEREO HIDEOUT:. In 2014, he released the debut album The Radio Nouveau along with several music videos. The album was mixed in London by Gareth Jones (Grizzly Bear, Depeche Mode) and mastered in Brooklyn by Joe Lambert (Animal Collective, Dirty Projectors). The follow-up album Down with the Classics (a mixtape introduction to classical music), due out in spring 2017, was co-produced by Grammy-nominated producer Good Guy Dez (Big Sean, Will.i.Am, Juicy J, Meek Mill, Kid Cudi, King Los, Puff Daddy), and features 13 songs, all of which sample a different classical composer and layer melodies and raps over top.
Successful as a composer and arranger, Hackman's work includes pieces for ensembles and artists as diverse as the string trio Time for Three, and choral ensembles Chanticleer and The Tallis Scholars. His orchestrations for artists like Time for Three, The Five Browns, Michael Cavanaugh, My Brightest Diamond, Arlo Guthrie, Aoife O'Donovan and Joshua Radin have been performed by nearly all the major orchestras in America.
Hackman was a four-year member, producer and musical director of the a capella group The Other Guys at the University of Illinois, a group that under his direction placed runner-up in the International Competition of Collegiate Acapella at Avery Fisher Hall. He is a prolific songwriter, having written hundreds of songs and releasing several albums of original music. His song "The Pendulum Song" was chosen among tens of thousands as a finalist in the John Lennon Songwriting Competition, and he has also received honorable mention in the Billboard songwriting competition. In season seven of American Idol, Hackman was one of 164 contestants chosen from more than 150,000 to attend Hollywood Week. He finished in the top 64.
Hackman studied conducting with Otto-Werner Mueller at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia; his musical mentor at Curtis was Dr. Ford Lallerstedt, who instructed him in counterpoint, composition, and improvisation. He subsequently studied conducting with David Zinman at the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen and received further instruction in orchestration from the prolific Broadway orchestrator and composer William Brohn (Miss Saigon, Wicked, Ragtime and countless others). He served as the assistant conductor of the Reading Symphony for two seasons, where he led subscription, family, education and New Year's Eve programs.
Hackman is active on social media under the handle @stereohideout, and many of the pieces referred to here can be watched in their entirety on YouTube via the stereohideout channel.