His majestic and uplifting musical themes have inspired listeners all over the world during the coverage of major sporting events, including highlights of the great Michael Jordan, the 2000 Summer Olympic Games, the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games and the 1992 Summer Olympic Games and is cited in the book, 100 Years of Olympic Music, Music and Musicians of the Modern Olympic Games 1896-1996 by William K. Guegold, Ph.D. His award-nominated compositions and nine albums, to date, have reached the Top 5 on National Radio Charts and Top 20 on Billboard Retail Charts. Haun is even revealed in the acclaimed book, A History of Rock Music, 1951-2000 by acclaimed writer and a pioneer of Internet-based journalism, Piero Scaruffi (scaruffi.com).
Denver, Colorado - born Steve Haun notes, "as a two-year-old child, I used to sit underneath my father's desk while he worked as an architect. He always listened to classical music and I remember hearing Mozart, Bach and Chopin to name just a few. Both my mother and father play the piano as well as my brother, Dave. My mother is a music teacher in the public schools and a piano teacher as well. I remember someone in our family always playing our Steinway Grand Piano, singing & humming around the house or listening to music from the stereo."
Steve began taking violin and piano lessons at the age of five; but, like many young students, his interest piqued as he remembers "hating to practice more than anything." Yet his talent was sufficiently developed for him to win first place at age six in a composition contest sponsored by the College of Music at the University of Kansas. Steve continued to study the piano for several more years, then focusing on the violin "seriously" until the age of 15 or so. I then thought it wasn't cool anymore; sports and girls were now my big interests." As he grew, Haun continued to win competitions and scholarships, including the Boulder Philharmonic Young Artist's Competition and a music scholarship to the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Haun holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music and a Certificate in Music Technology from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a Master of Music in Theory and Composition from the University of Northern Colorado, noting "I play violin, piano and a variety of keyboards. These last are my favorite instruments because of the number of different sounds that are possible. It's wonderful to have a virtual symphony orchestra at my fingertips!" Considering his achievements, it is a bit surprising that Steve does not consider himself "a very good pianist. In fact, I have music in my head that I can't play, which is why the use of the computer and a sequencer is such a valuable compositional tool for me. I do, however, feel that I play very musically and at times, emotionally. I think these attributes show up on my recordings to the extent that many people think I am a better pianist than I do…however, I feel that I am definitely evolving all the time."
Known for crafting a heady mix of magnificent themes and delicately nuanced melodies, it's interesting to learn that while Steve grew up listening to classical music, the first recording he remembers buying "was Boston's first album. Every school day, during first period shop class, I heard the song 'More Than A Feeling' and I had to have the album. During the same, 1970’s time period, I bought albums by Kansas, Steve Miller and Jefferson Starship. I was also a huge Eagles fan, partially because I am related to Randy Meisner." But he notes that nowadays, his listening preferences run more towards the music of the known film composers and instrumental pop stylists. "Five other musicians who impress me are David Foster, Hans Zimmer, James Horner, Dave Grusin and Nelson Rangell," he says. "Foster for his musical styles and production talents, Zimmer Grusin and Horner for their incredible film scores and compositional skills and Rangell for his abilities in the studio and on stage."
"My favorite part of being a musician," Steve notes, "is the satisfaction and excitement of composing a good tune and the joy/pain of recording it. People, emotions, feelings, experiences and memories inspire me to compose. I am lucky enough to be able to compose music through improvisation as well as inspiration, including and during special times & occasions in my life…my wedding ceremony is a perfect example…I improvised a piece, ‘in the moment’ and from my heart. I also composed a piece, in just a few minutes, in celebration of the birth of my youngest daughter. In addition to my beautiful family, the ocean and the mountains inspire me to compose. I do hear music in my dreams and at times, have actually composed in my dreams. Unfortunately, I have not been lucky enough to remember the music of my dreams after I wake."
When it comes to composing, Steve doesn't have a set routine. He says he usually does his "best work at night, probably because there are not as many distractions and that it's easier for me to get in the mood. The process for writing a composition usually begins in my head with an idea or melody; then I'll play around on the keyboards with some of my favorite sound combinations, such as strings and piano, acoustic guitar or horns. Improvising on the initial idea hopefully makes something musical happen." Steve further explains, "what I try to do with my music from composition to composition and album to album is to capture the emotional elements by building up and dying down, by creating musical peaks and valleys, by trying to express lots of emotions and visual images. I want the music to go somewhere emotionally, not simply staying on the same plane. But above all else, I'm trying to send positive messages out there."
Steve became a professional musician "by accident, or fate, or curse; I'm not sure which," he jokes. "I grew up improvising and composing by ear, for fun." In the mid-1980's, he purchased his first synthesizer that contained a multi-track sequencer. "For the first time," he enthuses, "I was able to record more than one track and soon was composing music that previously had only been in my head. At the same time, I was taking pre-med courses at the University of Colorado. I wanted to become an optometrist and was accepted to Pacific University in Oregon. However, about two weeks before I was supposed to leave for optometry school, I had a change of heart and decided to record an album instead."
Haun walked into Boulder, Colorado's Coupe Studios, met engineer/producer/musician Kip Kuepper and began recording the tracks that would become Inside the Sky. James Marienthal, owner of label Silver Wave Records, read an article printed in the Boulder Daily Camera newspaper about Steve and his compositions; intrigued, he contacted Haun and ended up releasing the album in August 1988. It was the third recording released on the neophyte label and made quite a splash with critics and fans alike, reaching the Top Twenty in both radio airplay and retail sales.
The success of his debut took Steve a bit by surprise, as he notes he is "a very sensitive person, shy at times, quiet and I have always been modest...some say ‘far too humble for this business’ and I agree. I do, however, believe that these qualities are expressed and are heard in my music. To me, that’s important." In the last fifteen years, Haun has released eight more internationally distributed recordings for Silver Wave Records, Ivory Moon Recordings Gallery Records and SNH Productions, including Impressions of the Rocky Mountains I & II, Glory Bound, No Trivial Moment, Birth of Dreams, Victory: Music of the Bolder Boulder, Collage and Midnight Echoes, with combined sales of over 200,000 units. Haun’s Music with Nature Series™ albums, IMPRESSIONS OF THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS I & II are Steve's first releases for SNH Productions and his first recordings to utilize a new audio digital encoding process called Wave Dance Audio, which, he explains "essentially recreates the context, richness and multi-dimensional psycho - acoustics of the 'live-sound' experience. Basically, it is a recording process that is incredibly ‘live sounding’ and ‘realistic’ for the listener."
When not composing or recording, Steve notes "I play, watch, eat and sleep sports. I definitely take sports way to serious." He keeps in shape by playing basketball two or three times per week, also participating in softball and tennis; in season, he enjoys hiking, skiing and cycling. He also "loves movies, especially when the music film score is outstanding!" Perhaps because he resides in Boulder, Colorado, at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, his favorite places to visit or vacation are "just about anywhere that has an ocean or body of water nearby. I especially love the ocean, and one of my favorite activities is to walk along the beach. The many sounds, smells, colors and overwhelming power of the ocean fascinates me, maybe because I have lived my life so far from any major body of water."
Steve is also the Director of Orchestras at the acclaimed, Peak to Peak Charter School and believes strongly in mentoring up-and-coming musicians, volunteering his time to lecture students about careers and setting life goals, as well as various aspects of the music industry. He also donates performances on behalf of numerous charity benefits for worthy causes.
"If I had one thing to tell the world," he concludes, "it would be: mankind is, to my knowledge, the only animal that hurts and kills its own kind because of various emotions." Please, take time to realize how valuable and precious life is. Follow your dreams and do something positive! An older quote of mine is, "life is precious and should never be taken for granted; there is No Trivial Moment."