Sunday, December 6, 2015

Series of Concerts to Honor Bert Lucarelli

On December 10 and 11, 2015, The Hartt School will present a series of concerts to honor recently retired, professor emeritus Bert Lucarelli.  Professor Lucarelli has retired after 45 years of teaching. 

On December 10, Hartt is celebrating his legacy by hosting a recital performed by his former Hartt students. The recital begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Society of Hartford, 50 Bloomfield Ave.  The concert is free and open to the public.  Performing on the recital are:

Karen Birch Blundell
Dan Brimhall
Jolie Chrisman
Dan Frostman
Ziqian Guan
Trevor Johnson
Katy Kammeyer
Galit Kaunitz
Micheal Loveland
Lissa Stoltz

On December 11, the Hartt Symphony Orchestra will accompany five of Professor Lucarelli's students as they perform the John Corigliano's Concerto for Oboe and Orchestra (1975), which was written for him.  Each student will perform one of the movements.  This concert will be live-streamed for those who cannot attend in person.  The soloists will be:

Karen Birch Blundell
Stuart Breczinski
Casey Hill
Charles Huang
Kirstin Leitterman

In the meantime, here are some photos of Prof. Lucarelli from throughout his career.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

5 Questions with Ryan Bauer-Walsh

Ryan Bauer-Walsh (BFA ‘o6), studied Music Theatre at Hartt from 2002 to 2006.  He is currently living in New York City. 

What have you been up to since you graduated from Hartt?

After Graduating in 2006 from the Theatre Division at Hartt I moved straight to NYC. I had worked with Goodspeed’s Festival of New Artists through the Music Theatre divisions relationship with their theatre company and it helped them get to know me. After a few auditions in NYC, Goodspeed cast me in Nell Benjamin’s PIRATES! It was a new take on Pirates of Penzance and I got my Equity card.  Getting my card helped me make the transition from school to performing professionally. I went on tour after that with Theatre Works USA for my first national touring experience with Paul Revere. It was a great way to see the country and it really developed my work ethic.

After that I realized the only way to work in NYC was to audition constantly. I did about 260 auditions in one year back when you could go to four a day. I was running between audition studios and getting to know all the casting directors in town and finally I booked my first Production Contract. Lonny Price, who I had met at the American Theatre Wing’s SPRINGBOARD boot camp two years prior, cast me in BROADWAY: 3 GENERATIONS at The Kennedy Center. It was my birthday that day and he called me personally to let me know I was going to be part of the show. It was life changing to work with that team of creatives. After that, I did the First National Tour of BILLY ELLIOT, the International tour of ZORRO, toured Europe with Silver Sea, ENCORES Most Happy Fella, and I’ve worked regionally in theater around the country.

I also have built a career as a Voice Over actor, as an illustration artist, commissioned painter and I recently published my first book; Rusty The Rescue- which proceeds from the sales go to help shelter dogs. 

What are you involved with right now and is there a specific career highlight?

I was recently invited back to reprise my role as Pietro, with the Prospect Theatre Company in their production of Death For Five Voices. We will be doing a developmental residency to workshop the production in Gesualdo, Italy- which is where the story in the musical takes place.  We will be performing in the castle where the protagonist lived. I also just made my debut as Jean Valjean in the Maltz Jupiter Theatre’s production of Les Miserables— which to date was one of the most thrilling experiences I have had on stage.

But I think one of the best experiences I have had as a performer in a while was actually just this last month. I was invited by The New York Special Olympics to perform at their opening ceremony on October 16th. Over 1000 athletes gathered with supporters and fans at the Glenn Falls Civic Center for the event. Meeting such an amazing group of people and being able to be a part of that evening was incredible! The event is completely built on the strength of volunteers. We had less than 20 minutes to tech the performance, but in that time we were able to create a flash mob of 60 dancers who took to the floor while I sang a version of Katy Perry’s FIREWORK— for which Hartt Professor Michael Morris created an amazing orchestration for the evening. Thank you again, Mike!!

What is one of your most memorable moments from your time at Hartt?

Sunday, November 1, 2015

5 Questions with Trevor Johnson

Trevor Johnson (MM degree Oboe Performance ‘95) studied at Hartt from 1993 to 1995. He is currently living in Jeffersonville, Indiana (suburb of Louisville, Kentucky).

What have you been up to since you graduated from Hartt?
A few months after graduating from Hartt, I won an audition for a position with the Louisville Orchestra, and with the exception of two seasons’ leaves of absence, have been 2nd and Assistant Principal Oboe ever since.  In the past few years, I have also been playing English horn regularly with the orchestra.  In 2000, I was the host/conference coordinator of the annual meeting of the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians (ICSOM) when it met in Louisville.
What are you involved with right now?
Coaching double reeds in a local high school, and a recording project with the Louisville Orchestra to provide the soundtrack to Thunder Over Louisville, the largest fireworks display in North America.
What is one of your most memorable things about your time at Hartt? What is a career highlight?
Performing with the Emerson String Quartet and traveling to New York with Performance 20/20 to see performances at Carnegie Hall and Brooklyn Academy of Music.
Performing under the baton of John Williams, and accompanying Rostropovich in a performance of the Shostakovich Cello Concerto.
What did you learn during while at Hartt that you did not appreciate or recognize until after time passed and you had some time to reflect?
Not only did I receive excellent performance instruction and opportunities while at Hartt, but I also had hands-on experience with other aspects of being a musician that are necessary to make a career.  As part of my financial aid package, I learned a great deal about behind-the-scenes responsibilities as stage manager for the Conductors’ Institute Orchestra, manager of the Hartt Contemporary Players, and producing aspects of the first Performance 20/20 CD recording.
What is next for you?
I plan to continue to work with the ever-rising Louisville Orchestra and collaborate in a recording project with my chamber music group, the Ceruti Chamber Players. I also will serve on the Executive Board of the local chapter of the American Federation of Musicians.
If people to get in touch, how can they do so?

Saturday, October 31, 2015

5 Questions with Javier Colon

Javier Colon (B.M. 2000) studied Music Education at Hartt from 1995 to 2000.  He is currently living in West Hartford.

What have you been up to since you graduated from Hartt?

A couple months after graduating from Hartt, I was asked to be the lead singer of a band called The Derek Trucks Band. (Now known as the Tedeschi Trucks Band.) It was my 1st touring gig as a musician and I got to see what being on the road was like. I learned so much from Derek, who I believe is one of the best guitarists out there. I was with him for almost 2 years before I left the band to pursue a solo career. I signed to Capitol Records as a solo artist in 2002 and released albums with them in 2003 and 2006. The albums had moderate success but I was eventually dropped from Capitol and found myself searching for a new deal. 

After 5 years and many meetings with labels but no offers, I found myself in a tough position. I still toured as much as I could doing mainly college and corporate gigs but it was getting to the point where it wasn’t enough to support my family. Right around that time, my management had heard about a new show called “The Voice” that was starting up. After being talked into auditioning by my family and friends, I made it on the show and eventually won the 1st season. It was an amazing experience and opportunity that changed the course of my career and life. 

What are you involved with right now?

I continue to tour the US and the world with my music and will be releasing a new album with the new label I recently signed with, Concord Music Group. 

What is one of your most memorable things about your time at Hartt?  What is a career highlight?

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

5 Questions with Bernadette Baker

Bernadette Baker (Bachelor of Music 1994) studied Violin Performance at Hartt from 1990 to 1994.  She is currently living in Melbourne VIC Australia.

What have you been up to since you graduated from Hartt?

Well, I’ve moved around a lot! I lived in Boston for a year and a half, then Dallas for 8 years, then back to Racine WI for a year and a half, and then I moved to Melbourne, Australia 10 years ago, which is where I now happily reside. In that time I’ve done a lot of freelance playing and private teaching, as well as working “normal jobs.”

What are you involved with right now?

I’m currently playing in the Melbourne Opera Orchestra, which I started playing in shortly after moving to Melbourne. They have become like my second family, this group of musicians. I thoroughly enjoy making music with them and I am in love with the operatic repertoire. This became a springboard for my other music project, my violin duo, Operatic Strings. In 2008 started making arrangements of my favourite opera arias for two violins as a way of being able to play this amazing music whenever I wanted. My concept then grew to include musical theatre songs, standard classical tunes and some popular music. I asked my friend and colleague Emma to play through the arrangements with me to see if they worked, et voila! We play for weddings, special occasions, and we put on regular concerts for fun and entertainment.

What is one of your most memorable things about your time at Hartt?

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

In honor of the 75th birthday of James Sellars

This post is contributed by Thomas Schuttenhelm.  Thanks, Thomas. 

On Sunday, October 7, 2015 Hartt presents a concert in Berkman Auditorium at 2:00.

James Sellars (b. 1940) has enjoyed a long and varied musical career. His path to becoming a professional composer followed a traditional course but his extraordinary imagination has led him to create an increasingly original music that has set him apart from his contemporaries.

His generation includes some notable names such as Joan Tower, Charles Wuorinen, and Brian Ferneyhough. But notability is not a consequent of ingenuity. All too often the monotone of historians and commentators compress the narrative of music history into a predictable continuum of pedigreed names that lead to an over-determined ending. Only the most astute critic, such as Arthur Danto, has asked: what do we do “after the end?” James Sellars has a most convincing answer.  

If I had to identify a creative artist equal to Sellars it would be Thomas Pynchon. Both create counter-fictions with intricate interiors and alternative histories. Parodies and puns pervade their work and they are the unmatched virtuosi of apophasis. 

 If Pynchon’s favored genre is the novel, Sellars gravitates towards chamber music, and what is represented here today is some of his best. In it he celebrates a distinctly American tradition and by doing so he distances himself from the European models that could not accommodate his accent in a musical language that was accustomed to convention. His music is not without influence but his affiliations are self-selected and add an interpretive dimension to the compositions.   

His earliest acknowledged work, The Merry Guide (1961), is a series of short piano pieces that were in stark contrast to the more ‘notable’ premieres of that year, that included Penderecki’s Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima and Pli selon pli: improvisations sur Mallarmé (No. 2) by Pierre Boulez. The severity of the contrast is evident on many layers, not the least of which can be detected in the titles alone. If Sellars did not compose his Merry Guide in conscious opposition to these works one cannot resist accompanying him on his alternate path which, interestingly, also motivated Boulez, who was attracted to the phrase: ‘Dans le doute du Jeu supreme” (“In the doubt of the supreme Game”) that provided the conceptual impetus to his “portrait” of the poet. 
Sellars excels at undercutting the ‘game of music’ in whatever form it has presented itself and which has, regrettably, taken over an art form that was once evaluated on craftsmanship and aesthetics. These latter qualities were cultivated in careful and deliberate degrees by Sellars and they occupy a central place in his music. Sellars has an impeccable ear (at one time a necessary prerequisite for a composer) and outstanding facility as a pianist, which he studied for many years. He has so successfully fused technique and intuition that it is often impossible to determine where one begins and the other ends and the pieces on the program display this quality supremely.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Update to Hartt Alumni

Here is the September 2015 email update sent from the Hartt Board of Trustees' Alumni Committee to all alumni for who the University of Hartford has an email address.

Can't view this email properly? Click here for the online version.
University of Hartford's Hartt School
Dear Fellow Hartt Alumni,
I hope you have been well since last summer’s email sent to all Hartt alumni about the exciting things that were happening at Hartt and preview for the 2014–15 year. Now, I wanted to reach out, once again, on behalf of the Hartt Board of Trustees’ Alumni Committee to highlight some of the exciting things that happened at Hartt during the past year and to preview some upcoming events. Hartt, and the University of Hartford as a whole, have made a real commitment to improving alumni engagement. Everyone at Hartt wants you to feel a continuing connection to the school and this update is one way we are doing that. We hope that you will consider coming to a performance, reaching out individually to a former professor, attending an alumni event, or finding another way to remain involved. For now, let’s talk about our alma mater. 
THEATRE DIVISION presented the rarely performed musical On Your Toes and is preparing for Nicholas Nickleby.
In 1936, the musical On Your Toes, written by Rodgers and Hart, opened on Broadway.  Prior to Hartt’s production, On Your Toes had never been performed north of New York City. The show, which requires both a full ballet company and a music theater company, is a massive undertaking. Hartt’s production was directed by Alan Rust, director of the Theatre Division, and choreographed by Ralph Perkins and Stephen Pier. A full orchestra, conducted by Edward Cumming, skillfully added an important component to the grand show, which includes the jazz ballet "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue."

This coming year, the Theatre Division will present another rare production. Charles Dickens’s Nickolas Nickleby will be performed in two parts on consecutive nights and both parts combined during weekend days in November.

The Hartt School Theatre Division Presents
The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickelby
Presented in Two Parts
Nov. 3–8, 2015
Part I:
Tuesday and Thursday, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday, 3 p.m.
Part II:
Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 7:30 p.m.
Dickens’s England Evening Package
Saturday or Sunday
Parts I and II with a traditional Dickensian
dinner between shows, hosted at the
University of Hartford’s 1877 Club.

Tickets are available by
or calling 860.768.4228.
Hartt Alumni Award—2015 Recipient and a Call for 2016 Nominations

Boykin speaks on Lincoln stage in May.
Phillip Boykin ’95 was the 2015 Alumni Award recipient. Boykin was presented this honor at the Hartt Commencement in May. At commencement, Boykin spoke passionately to the graduating students and assembled guests sharing both the struggles he has experienced and his triumphs. He was a featured performer in the recent Broadway production of On The Town, Boykin has had an amazing career since graduating Hartt. Visit his webpage.
If you know of a Hartt alumnus or alumna worthy of consideration for the Hartt Alumni Award, please nominate him or her.
Hartt Welcomes a New Class as the Tradition of
Opening Convocation Continues!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Dedication of Hartt's New Harpsichord

On Sunday, September 20, 2015, Hartt will present a special concert to unveil and dedicate the new harpsichord that it commissioned.  The harpsichord was custom built by Norfolk, Conn., resident Carl Dudash.

To mark the acquisition, Hartt's internationally recognized faculty will present a free concert of music written in the heyday of the harpsichord.
A Musical Offering: An Inaugural Concert of the Dudash Harpsichord will take place at 5 p.m. in Berkman Recital Hall.

A pre-concert lecture by Professor of Music History Kenneth Nott on the importance to the harpsichord of preserving and studying music of the Baroque period will begin at 4:30 p.m.

“A large body of music — primarily composed before 1760 — requires the harpsichord in either a solo or chamber capacity,” said Nott. “This acoustic harpsichord will provide an essential source of rhythm and harmonic support to our music students, who will benefit immensely from its use.”

Monday, September 7, 2015

Fall/Winter 2015 Hartt Performances

Here is the Hartt Performance calendar for 2015 Fall and Winter.

Check back here soon for a list of performances that will be live streamed

Monday, August 31, 2015

Summer 2015 newsletter

The Summer 2015 newsletter from Interim Dean Clark Sanders can be read in full here.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

5 Questions with Steve Wenig

Steve Wenig (B.M. ‘95) studied Music Theory and Trumpet at Hartt from 1990 to 1995.  He is currently living in Houston, TX.

What have you been up to since you graduated from Hartt?

After graduating from Hartt in 1995, I went to the University of Michigan to work on a master degree in trumpet performance.  Although I did my undergraduate work in Music Theory at Hartt, it was the opportunity to study with great teachers, like Chris Gekker, Roger Murtha and Jay Lichtmann which really got me excited about trumpet playing.  Those opportunities, combined with the opportunities to play a good deal of heavy duty repertoire with the Hartt Symphony Orchestra, really lit a fire in me for orchestral trumpet performance.

After finishing my masters, I freelanced, taught lessons and took a ton of orchestral auditions. Well, 37 to be exact but who’s counting.  My wife and I moved to Houston, Texas and in 2004 an opportunity to work as the assistant personnel manager of the Houston Symphony presented itself.  

Constant auditioning and no orchestral job to show for it was beginning to take its toll so I figured that I would try an administrative position and if it turns out that I really miss trumpet playing then I’d know for sure to keep auditioning.  As it turns out, I really enjoyed working closely with the orchestra, even in a non-playing capacity and I’ve been working in orchestral management ever since.  After being the Asst. PM, I became the Personnel Manager and worked in that capacity for about 7 years. Personnel Managers occupy a crucial link between orchestral musicians and their employer.  It is also really thrilling to be in this part of the business and seeing all the work behind the scenes that goes into how a full-time Symphony orchestra operates.  As you might imagine, having a background as a musician was invaluable in this role.

What are you involved with right now?

Currently I still work for the Houston Symphony but am now the Director of Community Partnerships.  In this role, I help develop community relevant concerts and programming and also maintain the relationships with a number of community organizations, social service agencies and other cultural institutions.  This summer, we just launched a new Community Embedded Musician program.  This is a new group of string musicians who focus primarily on teaching and community work while also appearing as substitute musicians with the orchestra.  I also help advance the Symphony’s diversity and inclusion initiatives as it pertains to the Symphony’s relevance within the community.

What is one of your most memorable things about your time at Hartt?

What was most memorable about Hartt were the friendships and networks that were developed and are still valued and in use today.

What did you learn during while at Hartt that you did not appreciate or recognize until after time passed and you had some time to reflect?

Beautiful Life - Jimmy Greene

I had the pleasure of attending a performance last night by Jimmy Greene ('97).  He was performing with his quartet at The Side Door jazz club in Old Lyme, Connecticut.  The Side Door is an excellent venue attached to the Old Lyme Inn, both of which are owned by Ken and Jan Kitchings. The club is now one of the most important jazz venues in New England and worthy of our support.  (As an extra bonus, Jimmy Macbride, son of Hartt professor David Macbride, was performing in the quartet last night.)

The primary reason for attending The Side Door last night was, however, being able to hear Jimmy.  He has been performing music from his recent album, Beautiful Life.  If you have not yet purchased a copy of the album, do yourself and others a favor and do so.  The music itself makes the purchase well worth your investment.  There is, no doubt, that Jimmy is a wonderful composer, musician, and saxophonist.  As a [former] saxophonist myself, I was so very appreciative of and inspired by Jimmy's craft as a saxophonist.  He is among the very best tenor saxophonists I have ever heard.
There are additional reasons to purchase the album and treat yourself to attending Jimmy's performances.  Beautiful Life also features appearances by Kenny Barron, Cyrus Chestnut, Javier Colon, Christian McBride, Pat Metheny, musicians of the Hartford Symphony, and others.  Jimmy's composition are wonderful and the performances don't leave the listener wanting for anything but to listen again.
Most importantly, as many of you are aware, Ana Grace Greene, the daughter of Jimmy and his wife, Nelba Marquez-Greene ('97), was murdered on December 14, 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School.  Beautiful Life is a celebration of Ana's life.  For a message from Jimmy, please click here.

As Jimmy says "I want the music to reflect the way that Ana lived." Proceeds from Beautiful Life support the Ana Grace Project and The Artists Collective.

Here is Jimmy's upcoming performance schedule.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Video - Foot in the Door ensemble performs in Iceland

In preparation for Foot in the Door’s two performances at the 2015 Dark Music Days Festival, Iceland’s annual showcase for innovative and progressive contemporary music at Harpa in Reykjavík, the group went on a whirlwind mini-tour of the countryside giving three drop-in concerts along the way.

Hartt's contingent included current students, faculty and alumni. 

Here is a video of the tour produced by Hartt faculty member, Gabe Herman.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Alumni Spotlight - Beverly Stern (Slitt) Silver

Most of our recent alumni interviews have been of alumni from more recent vintages, but we wanted to spotlight an alumna with a more  experience than most of us.  
Beverly Stern (Slitt) Silver got her Music Education degree from Hartt in 1970.  She studied piano and voice at Hartt from 1966 to 1970.  She is currently living in East Hartford, CT. 

After graduating, Beverly general and choral music for 26 1/2 years in Windsor, CT.  She has also taught piano and voice privately for more than 20 years.  When not teaching, Beverly has performed with a number of community theatre groups, both in musicals and drama/comedy. And, both she and her husband, Marc Silver, have been active in Simsbury Light Opera Company since 1998. 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Hartt 2015 Alumni Award and Commencement

The Hartt School 2015 Commencement was held today and 1995 alumnus Phillip Boykin was awarded the Alumni Award.

I was honored to address the graduating class and congratulate them on behalf of the Hartt Board of Trustees.  I told the students that I was particularly pleased to be sharing a stage, once again, with Phillip Boykin.  Moshe Paranov used to take Phillip and me out for performances in area elementary school cafeterias and gymnasiums.  Uncle Moshe was a passionate believer that all students deserved a proper music education rooted in the classics.  Hence, his oft-heard concern that "Kids today don't know the difference between Beethoven and a him sandwich!" 

I have since retired from my performing career but Phillip has gone on to great international acclaim and is currently featured in the Broadway revival of On The Town.  He is a worthy recipient of the 2015 Alumni Award.

Congratulations, Phillip!  Uncle Moshe would be pleased.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Gress-Miles Organ Finale

Here are a few photos from last night's Organ Finale.  Organ alumni spanning 6 decades gathered for a final concert on the Gress-Miles instrument.

Picture taken for the dedication.

Just before the May 2, 2015 Finale celebration.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Julius Hartt's "Letter to a Young Musician"

Nearly 100 years later, this letter is still rings true.  Originally published in 1918 in the Hartford Times newspaper it is the fifth in a series of six articles under the title "Letter from a Musician."

The great composer, Ernest Bloch, who after 36 years in America referred to Julius Hartt (1869-1942) as a brother, stated that this letter is "by far the best writing I have read on the subject."  Mr. Bloch was said to have carried the article in his pocket for years and introduced the set of articles to his students.

Find a quiet space and some time and let the beauty of the writing wash over you and the content sink deep.

Julius S. Hartt

Dear confrere: I have no other warrant for thus addressing you than the interest in your artistic and material welfare which and right-minded musician of mature years might be assumed to feel for a younger comrade. The impulse to write you in this intimate and unconventional way came to me the other day under circumstances of which I should like to tell you in some detail. The occasion was a late afternoon musical; the place a spacious and beautiful gothic chamber rich with the evidence of generous mean and perfect taste.  The composer whose spirit and voice settled down on this twilight hour was Johannes Brahms; the music brought forward was this master’s two rarely heard and lovely sextets for strings, Opus 18 and Opus 36. The performers were Mary Mukle, artist through and through and most accomplished of women cellists; Pablo Casals, artists., musicians, virtuoso of virtuosi; David Mannes, one of the most distinguished of contemporary violinists; and three players less well known, but artists every one – Reber Johnson played the second violin, and Rebecca Clarke and Giulio O. Harnisch the violas. The audience that quietly stole into the shadows of that great room included artists known world over, as well as humbler folk.  All alike were drawn thither by the call of art for art’s sake. For the beautiful thing about all this, my friend, was the spirit of the occasion. And the spirit of the audience no less than of the performers, really was the spirit of art for art’s sake. These great souled artist performers gave themselves over to the joy of noble music for sheer love of it; and their happiness they shared with their friends. That was all. But it was no impromptu undertaking. There had been much painstaking and careful preparation. It was my privilege to be present at the final rehearsal.  And please believe me, if the rank and file of lesser performers, whether as individuals, or groups of larger or smaller dimensions, were to bring to the preparation of their public musical undertakings half the loving care and scrupulous thoroughness with which these great artists made ready for a purely private appearance before their friends, the world over would be spared a vast amount of slovenly and impossible music. I wish you could have heard Casals’ frequent though gentle insistence upon repetition after repetition of delicate and exacting passages. I wish you could have witnesses Mannes’ affection defer to “Pablo,” and Casals’ generous rejoinders to “David.”  The spirit of it all was so beautiful. So unlike the deadening and deadly professionalism that cuts the soul out of art; it was all so like the music – as truly the essence of the music as the perfume is the essence of the flower. And when the next day I sat listening in that twilight hour to music as truly gothic in spirit as was that shadowy room or any venerable cathedral (music pointing finger-like towers of aspiration toward heaven) I gave myself up not only to dreamy realization of exquisite music but to half conscious musings upon the things that men live for and that we musicians strive for.

In the presence of the slow movements of those celestial born sextets, how tawdry, how coarse, how cheap, seemed the possession of mere things, how trifling fame, money, power, position. In the scherzos how vibrantly pulsated the joy that is the normal birthright of every human being whose deathless inner life is free under God’s jewelled [sic] heaven. In the allegros what horizonless expanses of imagination; what serene and all-reconciling outlook over the great world of humanity throbbing, surging with passion and pain, love and hate, hope and despair, joy and sorrow, plenty and want, ugliness and beauty, sickness and health, childhood and old age, death and decay, time and eternity! And yet what unity; what symmetry; what masterly adjustment of means to ends; what perfection of form; what balance of heart and brain! (Albeit Brahms’ scales incline toward the intellectual.) And, because it is great and true art, how surely this music pertains to the real life of Brahms; not less surely than that all true art is an expression of the inner life of its creator – God’s life. For every creative life is a spark of the great Creator’s life. Brahms’ personal history was simple and uneventful. He traveled comparatively little and gravely avoided the public gaze. His life was one of contemplation. He lived in an atmosphere of reality – God’s reality; reality of spirit, the reality of nature. And the incidentals which most men with gross and perverted vision mistake for essentials, and worship as ancient Israel worshipped [sic] the golden calf, Brahms looked upon as incidentals; and with austere disdain refused to be beguiled by the lure of mammon. He was devoted to the ideals of beauty. But he knew that beauty is a relative term. He knew that beauty implies ugliness; and he instinctively felt that as art must mirror life and nature it therefore must disclose beauty not as a universal element but as the sublime antithesis and conqueror of ugliness. And thus it is that the music of Brahms rings true to life. And thus it was that the noble Brahms Sextets came as a message of truth and beauty to the listeners in that darkening room on the occasion of which I am speaking.

You are wondering why I am writing you all this. Young musicians often seem to think of music as a professional garment, a sort of uniform that identifies the wearer as a member of a distinctive aesthetic cult. They do not very generally seem to realize that music is a life to be lived. True artistry is a creed; it is a religion. It is not primarily as most young musicians imagine, and many older musicians seem to believe, a means of livelihood. Artistry does not consist in the ability to perform creditably a larger or smaller amount of fine music. It does not consist in reputation.  Large fees bear no necessary relationship to it. Success, as the world views success, is not its symbol. Again I say, my friend, art is a life; it is a kind of living. And it is a kind of life and a kind of living far from the popular or fashionable among music’s nominal devotees. Again I say art is a creed; it is a religion. It is a creed and a religion that like all creeds and all religions that ennoble men and uplift humanity rests deep in the inexorable and eternal principle of the cross. Whatever the complexion of your religious thoughts or mine, please do not assume that I am using the word cross in any theological sense. I mean simply that the true artist’s life must conform to the principle of the cross. I mean that the true artist’s creed begins with self denial. I mean that the artist’s salvation hinges upon self forgetfulness. I would wish that every young musician like yourself would come early to realize that control and subjugation of self, in a hundred thousand ways, is the real technic to be acquired – the technic of right living. Now at the threshold of your career I wish that you could clearly see that no artist’s art is greater than his life. I wish that this great truth might sink deep into your inner consciousness – that art is life. Believe me what you play at your instrument is not only the music of your composer, but it is yourself. Your art is not a professional garment – it is you. If your soul is little soul, if your life is a little life, then your art is a little art, and you are a little artist. If your ideals rise no higher than your own personal concerns, your own advancement, your own success, your own glory, then you are a heretic to the only real creed of artistry; and whatever devices of concealment you may cultivate, your heresy will be branded large upon the thing you call art. And all real artists and all clear visioned lovers of art will see your shame. 

I have known musicians, young and old, whose everlasting inquiry centered in money. I have heard of musicians, or would-be musicians who could never be sufficiently interested in the very thing they professed to love, to live in close communion with it an hour or two a week without promise of financial reward. Think of that, will you! And then tell me if a lunatic could imagine anything more fantastic than such cheap musical jockeys posing musicians or as artists. So you think that a spirit like that pertains to real artistry? I say no. And it is at this point that I would like to make application of the little story of the twilight musical. It is the moral to be deduced from that musical that I would like this letter to suggest.  Several of the artists who played those Brahms Sextets on that February afternoon have world-wide reputations. They command the largest fees.  They stand unchallenged as consummate artists.  Their activities are many and important.  And yet here they were with their friends quietly communing with Brahms. There were no money considerations. There was but one motive, and that motive “art for art’s sake.” That was like the music they were playing too. That was like Brahms. And that was like, and is like, world without end, all true art, and all true artists.

The moral is plain.

Julius Hartt - Dated 2 March 1918 for the Hartford Times

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Hartt Grants Emeritus Status to Three Professors - Gryc, Provost, and Lucarelli

Hartt recently announced that it was granted the status of "Professor Emeritus" to three long-time faculty members.  Stephen Gryc, Richard "Dick" Provost, and Humbert "Bert" Lucarelli have a combined 137 teaching years at Hartt and have influenced generations of Hartt alumni. 

I can't imagine to guess how many music students at Hartt have been influenced by and have benefited from these Hartt gentlemen.  I, personally, was fortunate to learn from and teach aside each of them and I congratulate them on this honor, which adds to the long list of honors and accomplishments each has earned throughout their careers.

Steve has taught composition and music theory at Hartt since 1980.  Steve's website is here.

Dick is a Hartt alumnus and has taught guitar at Hartt since 1960.  Dick's website is here.

Bert has taught oboe at Hartt since 1968.  Bert's website is here.