Steve Collins (B.M. ‘89) studied percussion at Hartt from 1985 to 1989. He is currently living in Trumbull, CT.
What have you been up to since you graduated from Hartt?
Playing drums and percussion, teaching music, travel adventures, managing commercial construction projects, learning the field of orchestra management, marriage, kids, parenting 101, parenting 220, grey hair, returning to Hartford . . . . Well it’s been 26 years!
What are you involved with right now?
I recently joined the management team of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra as their Director of Artistic Operations and Administration. It is very challenging but rewarding work with immensely talented people.
What is one of your most memorable things about your time at Hartt?
The fantastic faculty really stands out, in particular my primary percussion teacher, Alexander Lepak. Mr. Lepak was firm but kind, immensely knowledgeable but generous, joyful and incredibly funny. He had a few personal trademarks that are etched in my memory of him: The cigar hanging from the corner of his mouth, and his directive to me in percussion lessons – “Make me want to dance!”
What did you learn during while at Hartt that you did not appreciate or recognize until after time passed and you had some time to reflect?
One great lesson from Mr. Lepak was simple but incredibly insightful. I remember asking for his advice in playing a particularly demanding passage of music. He listened to me play, said the passage was beautifully performed and asked me what advice I needed. I asked him what to do if an orchestra conductor expected me to perform the passage in a different way. He told me, “YOU decide how you’re going to play this passage. Perform with the conviction you just showed me, and no one will ever ask you to do any differently. YOU DECIDE.” I think about his message to this day and try to remain faithful to my convictions in all I do.
What is next for you?