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The diverse areas of expertise and interests represented among the faculty allow students to find the guidance they need to express their individuality through their music. Hartt's Composition Department fosters collaboration between its students and faculty; through weekly composition seminars in conjunction with the Institute of Contemporary American Music (ICAM), students and faculty members are given the opportunity to discuss each other's music and to hear music by visiting composers and other musicians. Past guests include such historical figures as Aaron Copland, Paul Hindemith, and Ralph Shapey, as well as recent luminaries such as Anthony Braxton, Michael Daugherty, Joseph Schwantner, Susan Botti, Bright Sheng and William Bolcom.
Essential to the development of composers is the opportunity to hear their music performed. Hartt provides numerous score calls for its students, with several performance organizations sponsoring student performances. Foot in the Door, a group dedicated to the performance of new chamber music, sponsors one concert of student works each semester. Additionally, students have their music performed on Hartt's "Public Works" series. Each semester the Hartt Symphony Orchestra and Hartt Symphonic Band select several student works to read and play during their rehearsal time. Biennial collaborations between student composers and choreographers culminate in an exciting evening of premieres. Residencies by professional ensembles for whom students compose new works provide exposure to performance standards in the "real world". Recent residencies include the Miami String Quartet and Yale Brass. Annual electronic concerts and score calls by Performance 20/20, an honors chamber group, provide more opportunities for Hartt composers.
Real Art Ways, Hartford's alternative art space, offers students the opportunity to interact with some of the most adventuresome experimental composers, and to preview new works from around the world.
Hartt's balanced curriculum emphasizes traditional skills, classical practice, and contemporary techniques. In addition to study in Hartt's challenging and stimulating core music program, students receive hands-on experience with new and emerging musical technologies and take part in classes such as orchestration, analysis, and electronic music. Through studies in traditional concert music, film music, music for the theatre, improvisation, and advanced modern compositional techniques, students are exposed to an ever-changing array of music.