Steve Hackman


Appears on: Brahms v. Radiohead

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 v. Radiohead, Beethoven v. Coldplay, Copland v. Bon Iver, and Bartók v. Björk with the Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Alabama, Florida, North Carolina, Charlotte, Columbus symphony orchestras and the Colorado Music Festival.

From 2015–17, Hackman served 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. Hackman led the Pittsburgh Symphony in a sold-out concert of his mashup Tchaikovsky v. Drake. In June 2017, Hackman made his debut with the Boston Pops, conducting four concerts of a program titled, “Beatles & Beyond.” He returned to the Pittsburgh Symphony for a concert later in June, and premiered his latest mashup with the Colorado Music Festival in July, titled Mashupalooza – a trip through an imaginary music festival where both classical and pop artists performed together.

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.

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), 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. 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 under Otto-Werner Mueller and counterpoint/ composition under Dr. Ford Lallerstedt at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. 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.