Composer Stephen Hartke Returns for Spring Residency at Eastman 2019-2020 Howard Hanson Visiting Professor

February 14, 2020

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Eastman School of Music welcomes back composer Stephen Hartke for a Spring residency from February 10 through 18, the second of the two scheduled this academic year. His residency includes having his Willow Run and Pacific Rim performed in an Eastman Wind Ensemble Concert on February 17 at 7:30 p.m. in Kodak Hall as well as having his Sons of Noah and Wulfstan at the Millenium performed on February 18 at 7:30 p.m. in Hatch Recital Hall. Winner of the 2013 GRAMMY Award for Best Contemporary Classical Composition, Stephen Hartke is widely recognized as one of the leading composers of his generation, whose work has been hailed for both its singularity of voice and the inclusive breadth of its inspiration.

As this year’s Howard Hanson Visiting Professor of Composition, Hartke’s professorship is a combined effort of Eastman’s Composition, Chamber Music, and Conducting & Ensembles departments, and includes not only performances of his music by the Eastman Wind Ensemble, but also a February 18 concert featuring his Wulfstan at the Millennium and Sons of Noah.

“I’m thrilled to be this year’s Howard Hanson Visiting Professor at Eastman, and to have the opportunity to visit with two residencies this academic year,” shares Hartke. “It’s always an honor to have my work performed, and to interact with students of such a high caliber as Eastman’s, whether it’s in master classes or coachings, will be a true highlight for me.”

Stephen Hartke was born in Orange, New Jersey, in 1952 and grew up in Manhattan. He began his musical career as a professional boy chorister, performing with such organizations as the New York Pro Musica, the New York Philharmonic, the American Symphony Orchestra, and the Metropolitan Opera. Following studies at Yale, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of California at Santa Barbara, interrupted by stints as advertising manager for several major music publishers, from 1987 to 2015, he taught at the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California, retiring as Distinguished Professor Emeritus. He now serves as Professor and Chair of Composition at Oberlin Conservatory.

“We are delighted to host distinguished composer Stephen Hartke as this year’s Howard Hanson Visiting Professor,” says Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon, Professor of Composition at Eastman. “Stephen Hartke has contributed a remarkable body of work that is admired for its beauty, refinement, and exceptionally vast range of emotional expression. His compositional voice scintillates with imagination and engages deeply with culture in myriad ways. Hartke is also an experienced pedagogue who at present directs the composition program at Oberlin Conservatory. During his residency at Eastman we will celebrate his wonderful music and enjoy interacting with him in a variety of academic settings.”

Anne Harrow, Chair of the Chamber Music Department adds, “We are excited that some of our students will have the opportunity to work with Stephen Hartke, one of today’s most important composers, and to perform his fascinating chamber music.”

Hartke’s output is extremely varied, from the medieval-inspired piano quartet, The King of the Sun, and Wulfstan at the Millennium, an abstract liturgy for ten instruments, the blues-inflected violin duo, Oh Them Rats Is Mean in My Kitchen, and the surreal trio, The Horse with the Lavender Eye, to the Biblical satire, Sons of Noah, for soprano, four flutes, four guitars and four bassoons, and his recent Symphony No. 4 for Organ, Orchestra, and Soprano, commissioned for the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He has composed concerti for renowned clarinetist, Richard Stoltzman, and violinist, Michele Makarski, and his collaboration with the internationally-celebrated Hilliard Ensemble has resulted in three substantial works, including his Symphony No. 3, commissioned by Lorin Maazel and the New York Philharmonic. Other major commissions have come from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall and the Harvard Musical Association, the IRIS Chamber Orchestra, the Kansas City Symphony, the Library of Congress, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the Barlow Endowment, Chamber Music America, the Fromm Foundation, the Institute for American Music at the Eastman School of Music, Meet The Composer, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, among others.

Most of Hartke’s music is available on commercial CDs released by Albany, BMOP, Bridge, Cedille, Chandos, CRI, Delos, ECM New Series, EMI Classics, Genuin, Naxos American Classics, New World Records, and Soundbrush Record.


Hartke’s Spring Residency Includes:

Monday, February 17, 7:30 p.m.; Kodak Hall
Eastman Wind Ensemble Performance, conducted by Mark Davis Scatterday
Eastman’s Wind Ensemble students will perform selected works from Hartke’s compositions including Willow Run and Pacific Rim.

Tuesday, February 18, 7:30 p.m.; Hatch Recital Hall
Hartke’s Sons of Noah will be performed as well as Wulfstan at the Millenium.


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About Eastman School of Music:

The Eastman School of Music was founded in 1921 by industrialist and philanthropist George Eastman (1854-1932), founder of Eastman Kodak Company. It was the first professional school of the University of Rochester. Mr. Eastman’s dream was that his school would provide a broad education in the liberal arts as well as superb musical training. The current dean is Jamal Rossi, appointed in 2014.

More than 900 students are enrolled in the Collegiate Division of the Eastman School of Music—about 500 undergraduates and 400 graduate students. They come from almost every state, and approximately 23 percent are from other countries. They are taught by a faculty comprised of more than 130 highly regarded performers, composers, conductors, scholars, and educators. They are Pulitzer Prize winners, Grammy winners, Emmy winners, Guggenheim Fellows, ASCAP Award recipients, published authors, recording artists, and acclaimed musicians who have performed in the world’s greatest concert halls. Each year, Eastman’s students, faculty members, and guest artists present more than 900 concerts to the Rochester community.