Local musician returns to fill timpani chair at Pittsburgh Symphony

Posted on: November 7, 2011

In Sunday’s (11/6) Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Mark Kanny writes, “Thomas Wolfe’s famous line, ‘You can’t go home again,’ refers to time and memory more than physical residence. … When Ed Stephan was growing up in New Brighton and studying music, he had many musical heroes, not limited to favorite bands and jazz musicians. The musicians of the Pittsburgh Symphony were ‘rock stars to me,’ he says. This fall, after 17 years away for higher education and early career moves, Stephan returned to Western Pennsylvania to become the principal timpanist of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. ‘It’s a dream of my youth come true,’ he said when his appointment was announced in February.” In high school, Stephan got into jazz and also studied with John Soroka, principal percussionist and associate principal timpanist of the Pittsburgh Symphony from 1978 to 2008. “From 1994 to 2001, when Stephan was studying music at North Texas State University in Denton and at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, he came back for extra lessons every month with Soroka, who also helped him choose and prepare for auditions. In 2001, Stephan became principal timpanist of the Forth Worth Symphony Orchestra in Texas. Stephan came to the Pittsburgh Symphony from the Dallas Symphony, which he joined in 2010.”

Posted November 7, 2011