By Sara Barsky, (Music Business '17)
A decade ago, Jonathan Haas, Director of the NYU Percussion Studies Program, used his vivid imagination to form a steel drum ensemble at New York University. It was an idea that came to him from the culmination of his career as a world-renowned timpanist and percussionist. The steel band gained instant success around the NYU community.
This year, the talented ensemble, directed by the outstanding Josh Quillen, enthusiastically accepted the invitation to perform at the prestigious 2013 Brooklyn Panorama. Members of NYU Steel gathered more than a week before the start of classes to rehearse for this incredible event. Josh Quillen, not only director of the ensemble, is also a performer in the group and a member of SO Percussion. The West Indian celebration/Panorama was held at the Brooklyn Museum, and was not only a festival filled with unbelievable talent, but also a weekend dedicated to passion, energy, and celebration of a wonderful culture.
NYU Steel opened up the show, followed by a variety of brilliant Trinidadian steel drum bands including Adlib, Pantonics, D Radoes, Despers, Metro, Harmony, Casym, Pan Fantasy, Pan Sonatas, East Side Symphony Orchestra, and Crossfire. NYU Steel witnessed the passion for the steel pan instrument in the air. The group was grateful to have the chance to participate in a festival that Trinidadian steel bands from different areas prepare so intensely for all year round. Freshman Rose Egan of the NYU Steel Band said, “The Panorama performance reinforced all the reasons why I fell in love with NYU. It was a great way to bond, and the event really helped me feel included in the percussion studio.”
The Brooklyn Panorama of 2013 was a great opportunity for the NYU students to become more united as a group and observe new levels of awareness, appreciation, and admiration for the steel pan instrument.