Steve Cirillo, Timpani

Years playing with the PSO: 9

Lives in: Kensington, NH

How old were you when you started playing music?

I started playing percussion at age 9.

Why percussion?

As a percussionist you get to perform on so many different instruments. It’s the dream job! However, during college I gravitated towards the timpani more than any other percussion instrument, which led me to many freelance opportunities as a young performer.

What is your favorite piece of music to play on percussion?

There are so many choices! But I will say, our PSO production of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony in 2017 was one of my favorites.

What do you like about playing with a symphony orchestra?

In the PSO I am the timpanist, which is a huge responsibility. It’s being the heartbeat of the orchestra and helping move the music in so many directions. The joy of bringing wonderful musical masterpieces to life with my fellow musicians is such a rewarding experience.

You were the 2017 PSO Educator of the Year. What other awards have you received?

I’ve been honored with recognition throughout my career, including being the recipient of the 2011 Portsmouth Mayor’s Award; 2008 Boston Crusaders Hall of Fame; 2006 Paul Harris Fellows Award for Community Service; 2003 GPEPC Excellence in Education Award; and 1999 Seacoast Educator of the Year.

Tell us about your musical education.

I have a BA in Music Education and a BA in Music Performance from Rhode Island College where I studied with my longtime mentor George Goneconto, former timpanist of the RI Philharmonic. I also have a Master’s Degree from Lesley University in Curriculum and Instruction in the Arts.

How do you spend your time outside of the PSO?

I currently serve as the Performing Arts Coordinator for the Portsmouth, NH Public Schools. The rest of my free time goes to my beautiful family—my wife, Mandi, my daughter, Cadence, and my son Cullen. We enjoy the great outdoors, skiing, hiking, biking, and visiting the US National Parks.