Steve Schaffner is the Director of the Southeast Missouri Music Academy, which is located on the River Campus of Southeast Missouri State University. Additionally, he is the conductor of Fiddlers Philharmonic, a youth orchestra within the education program of the Paducah Symphony.
Mr. Schaffner retired in 2013 after enjoying twenty-two years of service as Orchestra Director at Cape Girardeau Central High School and Cape Central Junior High School. Praised for his instructional leadership and commitment to music education, Mr. Schaffner was honored by the Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce as the 2006 Educator of the Year. In 2003 he was the recipient of the Edna C. Kinder “Excellence in Education Award.” His former students have honored him for Who’s Who Among America’s High School Teachers. Prior to joining Cape Girardeau School District, Mr. Schaffner was the Orchestra Director and taught guitar for five years at Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School in Augusta, Georgia. He replaced his Orchestra Director, Melvin Gilhaus, upon Gilhaus’ retirement in 1991.
A native Missourian, Mr. Schaffner received his BME from Augusta State University and his MME at Southeast Missouri State University. Before earning his degrees, Schaffner toured to 48 states and Canada as a fiddler and guitarist with several nationally known Nashville recording artists. He continues his love of commercial music with the band “Manitou” in the Cape Girardeau area. He has directed and performed in Japan, England, France, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Austria and was a part of Southeast Missouri Symphony’s China Tour in 2009. He performs regularly as a member of Trio Girardeaux and has been a member of the Paducah Symphony and the Southeast Missouri Symphony for twenty two years.
Most recently, Schaffner performed in Washington D.C and New York City as a member of the Southeast Missouri Symphony. He is a member of the American String Teacher’s Association, MENC and Missouri State Teacher’s Association.