Thursday, April 25, 2013


The following appeared recently on The Hartt School website.


Hartt alumnus Steven Ortiz (Masters of Music Education, Instrumental Conducting, class of 2009) has been selected as a 2013 Recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.  Ortiz will receive his award on Saturday, May 11, on historic Ellis Island during a weekend-long celebration, and is the first Costa Rican-American to receive this honor in the award’s 27-year history.
The Ellis Island Medal of Honor ranks among our nation’s most prestigious honors.  Each year, Ellis Island Medal of Honor recipients are listed in the Congressional Record, honoring those who have made enduring contributions to our nation and to the world.  Past recipients include Presidents Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, and notable figures such as Rosa Parks, Cesar E. Chavez, Muhammad Ali, Frank Sinatra, Wayne Newton, Itzhak Perlman, Joe DiMaggio, Gloria and Emilio Estefan, Bob Hope, Quincy Jones, Mickey Mantle, and many other distinguished entertainers, prominent religious figures, successful entrepreneurs, senators, congressmen, and military personnel.
The Ellis Island Medal of Honor is presented to an individual who lives a life dedicated to helping others, and preserves and celebrates the history, traditions, and values of their ancestry group while proving themselves valuable citizens of the United States.  These individuals strive for tolerance and acceptance between ethnic, racial, and religious groups in the United States and abroad and, above all, these individuals share their personal and/or professional gifts for the benefit of humanity.
Ortiz said of the recognition, “I am beyond humbled to have been selected to receive such an honor.  I give much honor and respect to all those who have provided me with guidance and mentorship through the years.  I am especially thankful to the City of Danbury, Waterworks, Park Avenue School, Western Connecticut State University, The University of Hartford, the Massachusetts Air National Guard, DHS Track Coach Rob Murray, Lt. Matt McNally and Officer David Antedomenico of the Danbury Police Explorers, US Airways’ Captain Edward Stromski, and Andover (MA) Police Officer Charles Edgerly…every single day I put into practice the many things you have taught me.  By touching my life, you have exponentially made a difference in this world…“thank you.  To all, I hope I bring honor to our affiliation with this good news.”
For details, visit

Posted by Michael Menapace ('93)

Monday, April 15, 2013

Hartt Alumni of the Year - 2013 Robert Brubaker

The following recently appeared on The Hartt School website.

Robert Brubaker

Bachelor of Music, Vocal Performance '77

The Hartt School is pleased to announce that celebrated tenor Robert Brubaker ’77 (Bachelor of Music) will be honored with the 2013 Hartt Alumni Award at the annual Commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 19.  Mr. Brubaker has established himself as a leading tenor in opera companies throughout the United States and Europe, praised for the clarity and power of his voice and the impact of his acting.  He has appeared at The Metropolitan Opera, the Salzburg Festival, Opéra National de Paris, Covent Garden, Teatro alla Scala, and other major opera houses around the world.  Mr. Brubaker, who will speak at Hartt’s graduation ceremony, also will share his experiences and insights with students and other interested members of the University of Hartford community at Hartt's Paranov hour on April 25, from 12:15 PM to 1:05 PM, in Millard Auditorium.

As Opera News summed it up when writing about his Golitsin in the new Andrei Serban production of Mussorgsky's Khovanshchina at the Bastille, unveiled in December, 2001, "Brubaker once again showed that, for sheer stamina in high-lying music, he has few rivals.”

Recent engagements include the Kaiser in Die Frau Ohne Schatten with Deutsche Oper Berlin; Laca in Jenufa at the English National Opera; Boris in Katya Kabanova at the Theater an der Wien; Mephistopheles in the premiere of Busoni's Doktor Faust at Teatre de la Maestranza in Seville; a return to the Glyndebourne Festival for the world premiere of the new opera, Love and Other Demons, composed by Peter Eötvös; Herodes in Salome in Bologna; Alviano in Die Gezeichneten at Los Angeles Opera; a reprise of Don Ygnacio in Of Love and Other Demons at Opera National du Rhin in Strasbourg; Loge in Das Rheingold at Teatro de la Maestranza in Seville; Mao Tse-Tung in Nixon in China at the Metropolitan Opera; the title role in Der König Kandaules for Vienna Volksoper; Captain in Wozzek at Santa Fe Opera; and the Witch in Hänsel und Gretel and Mime in the Ring Cycle at the Metropolitan Opera.
Upcoming engagements include Mime in Siegfried at Seville; Mime in Das Rheingold and Siegfried at Teatro Massimo Palermo; Malatestino in Francesca da Ramini and Mime in the Ring Cycle at the Metropolitan Opera; Luigi in Il Tabarro and Canio in I Pagliacci with Opera St. Louis; an appearance with Dallas Opera in 2014; and returns to the MET in upcoming seasons.

Other career highlights include Mime in Siegfried at the Metropolitan Opera conducted by James Levine and broadcast internationally; his appearances at the Salzburg Festival in the title role of Zemlinsky's Der König Kandaules, and as Alviano in Die Gezeichneten, both with Kent Nagano; as Count Pierre Bezukhov in War and Peace with the Opéra National de Paris, directed by Francesca Zambello; Mephistopheles in the Metropolitan Opera's premiere of Busoni's Doktor Faust; Golitsin in Khovanshchina at the Metropolitan Opera, Opéra National de Paris, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino and Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona; Albert Gregor in The Makropulos Case at the Metropolitan Opera opposite Catherine Malfitano; the same role at Houston Grand Opera and English National Opera, where it was also recorded for Chandos Records with Sir Charles Mackerras; Bacchus in Ariadne auf Naxos at Covent Garden on opening night of Antonio Pappano's first season as music director; Guido Bardi in Zemlinsky's Eine Florentinische Tragödie with James Conlon conducting; Aegisth in Elektra, and Herodes in Salome at Teatro alla Scala; his Glyndebourne Festival debut singing his first Laca in a revival of Nicholas Lehnhoff's acclaimed production of Janáček's Jenufa, followed by the same role for his Dallas Opera debut; the title role in Peter Grimes with the Canadian Opera Company conducted by artistic director Richard Bradshaw, with the Teatro Municipal de Santiago, with the English National Opera and at Aldeburgh; and the title role in Zemlinsky's Der Zwerg at the Opéra National de Paris and Teatro dell'Opera di Roma.

Mr. Brubaker has also performed Dimitri in Boris Godunov at the Opéra National de Paris; Gherman in Pique Dame with Olga Guryakova as Lisa at Montpellier Opera; the same role at Teatro San Carlo in Napoli and the Hamburg Staatsoper; Siegmund in Die Walküre with Teatro Real in Madrid and also with Austin Lyric Opera; Jimmy Mahoney in The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny at Deutsche Oper Berlin; Edward Fairfax Vere in Billy Budd at Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa; Dick Johnson in Puccini's La fanciulla del West at Austin Lyric Opera and in concert with the Melbourne Symphony; Arbace in concert performances of Idomeneo with the Munich Philharmonic led by then-music director James Levine; Bacchus in Ariadne auf Naxos at the Teatro Real in Madrid; Erik in Der Fliegende Holländer at the Teatro Verdi in Trieste and at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona; and Chairman Mao in Nixon in China, Don José in Carmen, Jim Mahoney in The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, Filke in From the House of the Dead, and Sergei in an acclaimed revival of the David Poutney production of Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk for English National Opera.

Mr. Brubaker appears on DVD, as Count Pierre Bezukhov in War and Peace with the Opéra National de Paris, directed by Francesca Zambello and directed by Gary Bertini available on TDK; and as Alviano Salvago in Franz Schreker's Die Gezeichneten from the Salzburg Festival, directed by Nikolaus Lehnhoff and conducted by Kent Nagano.

Mr. Brubaker can be heard on audio recordings as the title role in Der König Kandaules from the Salzburg Festival conducted by Kent Nagano, available on Andante Records; Gregor in The Makropulos Case conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras and Boris in Katya Kabanova conducted by Carlo Rizzi (slated for future release) on Chandos Records; and on Naxos American Classics' recording of Avodat Shabbat by Herman Berlinski, conducted by Gerard Schwartz.

Mr. Brubaker, a Mannheim, Pennsylvania native, received his degree from the (then) Hartt College of Music in Hartford, where he studied with David Ray Smith.  He and his wife now reside in New York City, where he studies with Bill Schuman.

To learn more about Mr. Brubaker, visit

Posted by Michael Menapace ('93)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Hartt Concert Jazz Ensemble Performance

Last night, the Hartt Concert Jazz Ensemble, directed by Professor Chris Casey, presented a great program.  The concert featured the music of Jackie McLean, Duke Ellington, Count Basie and others.  As a special treat, Hartt faulty members Shawnn Monteiro and Rene McLean were featured as soloists with the band.  In particular, Prof. Monteiro’s performance of “Here’s That Rainy Day,” was quite moving.  Millard auditorium was nearly full and the band sounded great under Prof. Casey’s leadership.  All the student soloists did a great job, and I want to point out that three of Prof. Nat Reeves’ bass students combined their talents in a pieced titled “Tricotism” that featured them trading solos that were quite impressive.  As an added bonus, the Hartt Community Division presented a musical “appetizer” of sorts before the band concert.  Ed Fast, Community Division percussion faculty member, lead a performance of the Community Division Latin Jazz Percussion Ensemble.  This group of middle and high school students performed with great enthusiasm and musicianship.  Another super night a Hartt!

Posted by Michael Menapace ('93)