A native of Binghamton, N.Y., Stephen earned his B.M. in music performance (percussion) and B.S. in sound recording technology in 2004 from SUNY-Fredonia. Before coming to Juilliard, he worked as a digital media encoder/editor for MTV Networks, where he edited and uploaded videos for Internet streaming and worked on multiple MTV Video Music Awards and MTV Movie Awards shows, as well as VH1 Rock Honors. Stephen has toured the U.S., Canada, and Japan as a drummer for two independent rock bands, Saxon Shore and League.
How long have you worked at Juilliard, and what do you remember about your first day? Or what is one of your favorite memories from your years here?
I’m just about to hit my two-year mark, and I can’t believe how quickly it has gone. My first day was filled with learning the “signal flow” of the recording studio, then cleaning most of it! My favorite memory occurred while running sound at a Jazz Ensemble concert in Paul Hall. I turned around to throw something out, and I see Pat Metheny and Wynton Marsalis behind me. I got butterflies!
What job at Juilliard would you like to try out for a day and why?
Working in the Scene Shop. Have you seen the sets they make? The people who work there are phenomenal artisans.
What is the strangest or most memorable job you’ve ever had and what made it so?
Touring, hands down. I have never been on a tour with a huge bus, or in hotels every night. We were always packed into a 15-passenger van with our gear in the back of the van, and stayed with old friends (or even people we met that day who would be kind enough to house us). I have played in almost 700 cities-towns-villages, and can remember each one. Every show is engraved in my memory.
If out of the blue your boss said to take the day off, what would you do with your free time?
Well, if I had some extra cash, I’d go shopping for vinyl records. However, most likely, I would go home and work on composing music.
Many Juilliard staff members are also artists. If that applies to you, how do you balance your job and your artistic endeavors?
I find that my boss and the entire Juilliard community are extremely open to my endeavors as a musician. When I need a day or night off for a show, it is no problem. The only problem I encounter is, when I get home from work, I am usually too tired to work on music well into the night.
What other pursuits are you passionate about?
I am a huge sports fan, particularly football. My parents are from central Pennsylvania so I have been a Pittsburgh Steelers and Penn State fan, even though I grew up in upstate New York. I also have a passion for acoustics and meteorology. If I hadn’t gone to school for music, I would have gone for a degree in meteorology—it was a tough choice.
What was the best vacation you’ve had and what made that trip so special?
The best trip I ever had was my band’s tour to Japan. We were there for 10 days, all expenses paid, and played to crowds much larger than we see in the States.
What might people be surprised to know about you?
I am a heck of a cook! I have a few specialty dishes, most of which are not healthy at all. However, I love to cook and entertain for guests/girlfriends/friends … basically anyone who wants to eat.
What is your favorite thing about New York City?
Twenty-four-hour public transportation. No other city in the U.S. has a subway system like ours, and it is a good feeling to know you can get home in reasonable time even in the middle of the night.
What book are you reading right now, or what CD are you listening to … and what can you tell us about it?
I just finished reading God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater by Kurt Vonnegut. It was a wonderful story about a wealthy man who wanted to love all the unloved people of the world. I’m a big fan of Vonnegut’s work. My CDs are always changing, but current artists are Fugazi, the Beach Boys, Sonny Rollins, and Mock Orange.
Is there anything you’d like to add?
Please say hello to me in the hallway, or feel free to visit me in the Recording Department. I am always available to answer any audio or video questions for students. I love meeting new people!