Thursday, February 2, 2017

5 Questions with Jason Solomonides

Mr. Solomonides graduated from the University of Hartford College of Engineering, Technology & Architecture (CETA) with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and a Minor in Piano Performance from The Hartt School in 1985.  Jason is a long time student of Prof. Raymond Hanson, Chairman of Piano Emeritus at both Julius Hartt and the Hartt College School of Music; studying with Prof. Hanson from 1975 to 1988.  He is currently living in Cromwell, CT with his wife Dr. Kerry O’Neal and twin daughters, Alexis and Keira, ages 4 ½.

What have you been up to since you graduated from Hartt?
I am currently Chief Engineer, Controls & Diagnostics - Pratt & Whitney (P&W) – United Technologies Corporation (UTC); with a proud 32 year tenure and am the recipient of 4 technical patents.  As Chief of Controls, I have the program management and technical responsibility for the design, development and deployment of the Control & Diagnostic Systems and Software for all of P&W's commercial and military engine programs.

After graduating from the University of Hartford I completed my M.S.E.E from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1988 and went on to complete the Executive M.B.A program at the University of Connecticut in 2000.
Since graduating from Hartt, I have had also had an active musical career.  In addition to performing numerous solo recitals across Connecticut between 1985 and 1998, I was invited to performed as part of the prestigious Asylum Hill Music Series in Harford in 1991, and performed a solo United Way Fund Raiser Piano Recital called “Sonatas and Sweets” in 1994 at the Werner Centennial Theatre in Simsbury, CT, sponsored by UTC and was interviewed live on-air by Ray Dunaway of WTIC-AM, prior to the concert.
What are you involved with right now?
I was invited to give a lecture and perform a solo recital as part of the annual Mason & Hamlin University conference held at the piano factory in Haverhill, MA on September 15 & 16, 2016 and recently received the honor of being named a Mason & Hamlin Artist.  I am currently recording my active repertoire for the company, and in the process of producing a series of PianoDisc recordings. 

I continue to talk with and study with 97 year old Prof. Raymond Hanson!

What is most memorable about your time at Hartt?

Probably my most memorable moment while attending the Hartt School of Music was winning the Hartt School of Music Concerto Competition entering my Senior Year as an Engineering Major, and subsequently performing Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in Eb with the Hartt Symphony Orchestra, guest conducted by Maestro Frank Collura on March 7 & 8, 1985.

Of course, having studied at the Hartt School for so many years, there were many other memorable moments.  Performing solo recitals, as part of the Bach-Liszt and Mozart-Prokofiev recital series, at the ASK House on Prospect Ave. – including a performance of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 25 in C, K.503, with Prof. Anne Koscielny, accompanying. Still fresh in my mind was performing and participating in Master Classes with Dr. Moshe Paranov at Millard Auditorium.  During my high school years at Julius Hartt, I studied the violin for five years with Prof. Abraham Mishkind and was awarded First Prize – Piano at both the Hartford Symphony Competition (1981) and Performer of Connecticut Competition (1981). I was also chosen to perform the Grieg Piano Concerto in Am, with the Greater Hartford Youth Orchestra, conducted by Prof. Bernard Lurie on May 10, 1981.

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?

Although I always enjoyed and was challenged by Dr. Moshe Paranov, Professors Raymond Hanson, Anne Koscielny, Bernard Lurie, Abraham Mishkind and grew up wondering who were all these elderly statesman walking around with portraits on the wall - such as Sam Berkman and Irene Kahn - I never realized what the true and remarkable legacy of the great musicians who helped found the school.  This includes hearing about some visiting pianist & teacher named Harold Bauer and professor & musicologist named Alfred Einstein.  It wasn’t until the past decade that I realized what a remarkable “musical lineage” of training I had received while at the Hartt School.  For example, in an interview with John Mortensen in 2003, Prof. Hanson provided some vivid memories about the early days at the Hartt School of Music and the family atmosphere that Dr. Moshe Paranov and Julius Hartt created with such great luminaries as Harold Bauer, Ossip Gabrilowitsch and Alfred Einstein as regular professors and lecturers.

What is next for you?

God willing, I plan on completing my professional career as Controls Chief with Pratt & Whitney over next decade or so, and begin a much more active piano performance, recording and teaching career in music.  I feel that with the musical lineage that has been passed down to me from Harold Bauer, Moshe Paranov and Raymond Hanson, that I have the responsibility to share this with the next generation of pianists and musicians!

If you want people to get in touch, how can they do so?

I can be reached via email at:


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