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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. 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.
The Composition department is a community that fosters cooperation between its students and faculty. Through once a week composition seminars, students and faculty members are given the opportunity to discuss each other's music and to hear music by visiting composers. An introductory, year-long freshman composition course, followed by three years of individual lessons with faculty composers, assures a regular, disciplined course of study. Essential to the development of composers is the opportunity to hear their music performed.
Hartt provides numerous score calls to its students, with several performance organizations sponsoring student performances. The Contemporary Players, a group dedicated to the performance of new chamber music, sponsors one concert of student works a semester. Additionally, students are given the opportunity through the student-run "Public Works" series to have their music performed. 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". Annual electronic concerts and score calls by Performance 20/20, an honors chamber group, provide more opportunities for Hartt composers.
The Institute of Contemporary American Music (ICAM), founded at Hartt in 1948, also helps link Hartt to the larger new music community. ICAM provides a forum for the presentation and comparison of various styles and trends in new music. Such noted composers as Milton Babbitt, Earle Brown, John Cage, Anthony Davis, Elliott Carter, Aaron Copland, Aaron Kernis, Melinda Wagner, Steve Reich, Steve Coleman, Lois Vierk, Ralph Shapey and Michael Torke have been featured as a part of the ICAM series. 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.