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The Hartt School Guitar Department Celebrates Fifty Years

The Hartt School Guitar Department Celebrates Fifty Years

Weekend Celebration Will Feature a Performance by Andrew York; Plus, the World Premiere of Frank Wallace’s As It Could Be as Performed by Students, Area Guitarists, and Alumni

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. ― 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the Guitar Department at the University of Hartford’s The Hartt School, the oldest performance-based guitar program in the country. In honor of this landmark anniversary, the department will be hosting a weekend celebration from Friday, April 11 through Saturday, April 12 featuring concerts, special events and more. Highlights of the weekend include a special solo performance by Andrew York, the world premiere of Frank Wallace’s As It Could Be, and a performance of Andrew York’s Attic by students, area guitarists, and alumni. All events are free and open to the public and will be held on the University of Hartford campus (Link to a  campus map). For details, please visit  www.hartford.edu/hartt.


The Hartt School is the performing arts conservatory of the University of Hartford that offers innovative degree programs in music, dance, and theatre. It provides world class performing arts education to students in Greater-Hartford and around the world. With more than 400 concerts, recitals, plays, master classes, dance performances, and musical theatre productions each year, performance is central to Hartt’s curriculumThe Guitar Department’s fiftieth anniversary celebration is a milestone event for both students and the community. Funding was made possible by generous grants from the Augustine Foundation and LaBella Strings as well as alumni contributions.


On Friday, April 11, at 7:30 p.m. Andrew York, a world-renowned classical guitarist, composer and long-time supporter of The Hartt School will perform a solo recital in Auerbach Auditorium. Grammy-award winning York is recognized as one of today's most visible and innovative classical guitar composers. The Hartt School’s Guitar Department is honored to welcome York to their 50th year celebration.

 

Beginning at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 12, Hartt will feature a series of special events including open rehearsals, a Suzuki guitar presentation with Nick Cutroneo, new music for guitar with John LaBarbara, and a rehearsal of Attic by Andrew York for students, faculty, and alumni. At 8 p.m. in Millard Auditorium, the Anniversary Concert will begin, featuring the world premiere of Frank Wallace’s As It Could Be, followed by a performance of Andrew York’s Attic by students, area guitarists, and alumni.


Frank Wallace, considered to be one of the most prolific composers of songs with classical guitar of our time, was commissioned by The Hartt School to write a piece specifically for the anniversary concert. The eight works that comprise As It Could Be are dedicated to The Hartt School Guitar Department and its founder Richard Provost. “Dick suggested using The Man with the Blue Guitar by Wallace Stevens (a resident of Hartford, CT) as a source of lyrics for a song,” said Frank Wallace. “I chose to use this incredible testimony to art as inspiration and have selected titles for eight pieces from the poem. Thank you Dick (and all your colleagues) who brought the guitar out of the dark ages and into a brilliant new community of creativity and progress through your courage, hard work, and vision. Let us imagine a future as it could be.”


These eight works will be performed by Phenix Trio (Richard Provost, guitar; Rita Porfiris, viola; Anton Miller, violin); Pandora Duo (Janet Arms, flute; Christopher Ladd, guitar); Alturas Duo (Scott Hill, guitar; Carlos Boltes, viola/charango); Kaleidos (Yovianna Garcia, guitar; Sayun Chang, percussion); and New England Guitar Quartet (Christopher Ladd; Dan Hartington; Nick Cutroneo; and Jeremy Milligen).


“I am overjoyed to have the opportunity to celebrate this department’s 50th anniversary by performing with many of my former students and esteemed members of the classical guitar community. I am humbled by the success of this program, its students, and alumni and the impact we have had on music education across the country,” said Richard Provost, professor of guitar and founder of Hartt’s Guitar Department. “When I first set out to create this program in the mid-1960s, I had a vision to bring an intense, degree-granting, guitar-related program to the university level. Fifty years later, I cannot believe how far we have come. From day one, my students’ passion for classical guitar inspired me, and it continues to motivate me every day.” 


“I am very much looking forward to returning to Hartt to play with my longtime mentor and dear friend, Richard Provost. I cannot believe it has been more than fifty years since my first audition on campus. At the beginning, we were considered highly controversial with our idea that classical guitar should be taken seriously at the college level,” said Cliff Morris, the first-ever graduate of the Hartt Guitar Department. “Today, the program is the benchmark for classical guitar education around the world, and I am proud to have been a part of Richard’s dream.” 


“This weekend we celebrate not only the 50th anniversary of our Guitar Department, but also, we honor Richard Provost, professor of guitar and founder of this incredible program,” said Aaron Flagg, dean of The Hartt School. “Mr. Provost began his teaching career at Hartt in 1960, founded the Guitar Department just four years later, and in 1968 Cliff Morris became the first Hartt graduate to earn a university degree in classical guitar. If it were not for Mr. Provost’s vision, tenacity, passion, and dedication to the art of classical guitar and teaching, we would not be where we are today.”


The Guitar Department at The Hartt School University of Hartford is the oldest performance-based guitar program in the country. Graduating its first member in 1968, its students have won or been finalists in major guitar competitions including the Guitar Foundation of America, Music Teachers National Association, American String Teachers Association, and Alirio Diaz Competition. In addition, graduates hold or have held teaching positions at, William and Mary College, VA; University of Tennessee, Memphis; University of Idaho, Moscow; New England Conservatory, MA; Boston Conservatory, MA; The Hartt School, CT; University of Central Florida; Louisiana Tech University; Moravia College, PA; Misericordia College, PA, and University of Connecticut to mention but a few. For more information about The Guitar Department at The Hartt School, visit  www.theharttschoolguitardepartment.com.


The Hartt School is the performing arts conservatory of the University of Hartford that offers innovative degree programs in music, dance, and theatre. Founded in 1920, Hartt has been an integral part of the University of Hartford since its charter merged the then Hartt School of Music, the Hartford Art School, and Hillyer College to create the University in 1957. 2010 marked Hartt’s 90th year of providing world class performing arts education to students in Greater-Hartford and around the world. With more than 400 concerts, recitals, plays, master classes, dance performances, and musical theatre productions each year, performance is central to Hartt’s curriculum. For more information about The Hartt School, visit  www.hartford.edu/hartt.


The University of Hartford, centrally located in Connecticut, provides a distinctive educational experience across seven schools and colleges for one of the most diverse student bodies in New England. Hartford’s faculty are attracted by the opportunity to challenge and support students as they pursue degrees in more than 100 programs in the arts, humanities, science, business, engineering and technology, education, and health professions. Chartered in 1957, Hartford has more than 5,000 undergraduate and, 1,600 graduate students from 48 states and 63 countries, and 75,000 alumni worldwide. Visit  www.hartford.edu for more information.

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