Meet Professor Jonathan Haas – director, conductor, educator, entertainer, pioneer

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“… the steelpan is the most unique and magnificent sound … it is an instrument of great catharsis … It is not possible to leave at the door …”
Dr Jonathan Haas

Global – NYU Steel has grown steadily since its inception. The men who fuel this upward trajectory are

Professor Jonathan Haas
and his campaign general

Josh Quillen
– the musical director of

NYU steel
. At the end of New York University’s spring semester, When Steel Talks spoke with Professor Haas for an in-depth, retrospective review of NYU Steel’s growth and development – past, present, and future.

Professor Haas is a recognized pioneer; he gave the first timpani-only recital hall concert at Carnegie Hall in 1980 and indeed proved that skeptics and skeptics were wrong when they said it couldn’t be done.

Enchanted by the sound of the steelpan he heard as a child on a family vacation in the Bahamas, the instrument has remained an essential part of his musical experience. So much so that he made the Steelpan family of instruments a mandatory part of the NYU percussion program and student experience.


Watch and Listen to this Exclusive When Steel Talks Interview with Professor Jonathan Haas, Director of the NYU Percussion Program

True to this pioneering spirit, Haas explains that the steelpan relates to his students “There must be an understanding of harmony or tonal harmony … My idea was that this would really strengthen their understanding of harmony. tonal pitch, harmony, melody, and of course groove and community … ”

This summer, a few NYU Steel members joined a Brooklyn contingent of players from New York’s major Steel Orchestra franchises to perform in an international Panorama of Steel Orchestra competition (International Conference and Panorama (ICP)) held in Trinidad and Tobago. The group — known as

Brooklyn Steel Orchestra (BSO)
– ranked fourth – the highest ranking for a foreign steel orchestra out of a field of twenty-four steel orchestras in total. An exceptional achievement. As they say ‘the proof is in the results’.

Following on Jonathan Haas

Professor Jonathan Haas

Jonathan haas



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