Steven Hall serves as Coordinator of Percussion at Marshall University, directing the Percussion Ensemble, African Drumming and Dance Ensemble, and teaching percussion and world music. Active as a percussionist/drummer in a wide variety of settings, he has performed recently with Teatro Lirico D’Europa, Cirque Musica, Marc Martel, and Michael W. Smith. Professor Hall recently collaborated and toured with composer, clarinetist, and video artist Brigid Burke, and guitarist and composer Mark Zanter on the recent Innova release Total Harmonic Distortion by BHZ: Burke, Hall, Zanter. Steve has studied African music with J.H.K. Nketia, Pascal Younge, and others at the University of Ghana, Legon, West Africa. His teachers include Professor Frank Oddis, Dr. Robert Schietroma, and Donald Miller.
Rhythm! Scene: If you weren't a university percussion professor, what career could you see yourself having pursued?
Steven Hall: I did consider being a veterinarian, since I have always loved being around animals, and I entertained the idea of studying archaeology as well. Before accepting my first college teaching position as Assistant Band Director/Percussion Instructor at Cumberland College in Kentucky, I was trained to be an Ophthalmic Assistant.
R!S: What's one thing in your institution or city/town (other than your school of music or music department) that you are proud to tell people about?
SH: The Tri-State area (West Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio) produces amazing international-level talent including musicians, dancers, visual artists, writers, and folk artists.
R!S: What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
SH: I have a large collection of plants including many bonsai trees I've created. It's good therapy!
R!S: What is your favorite percussion instrument and why?
SH: I truly fell in love with the marimba in my undergraduate years. The challenge of attempting to play music in a legato manner on an instrument that is struck with a mallet is a bit of a paradox.
R!S: Where did you grow up, and what’s one interesting thing about your childhood (musically or otherwise)?
SH: I grew up in the coal fields of Southeastern Kentucky, and I vividly recall sitting beside my grandmother Evelyn, on the piano stool, while she played piano for the Methodist church we attended. She claimed she didn't read music, but she could play all the hymns in the book. It turned out that she was reading from hymnals using shaped-note notation, which is a bit of a lost art these days.