Hartt Faculty Members to Receive Awards During Commencement Ceremony
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Hartt Faculty Members to Receive Awards During Commencement Ceremony

Seven of the University of Hartford’s outstanding faculty members will receive awards during this year’s Undergraduate Commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 21.  Hartt Faculty members Associate Professor Warren Hastons and Professor David Macbride are among those being honored.

Warren Haston, Associate Professor of Instrumental Music Education, The Hartt School: Roy E. Larsen Award for Excellence in Teaching

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Student evaluations of Warren Haston, PhD, are consistently among the highest in The Hartt School. He is known for his high standards, preparation, and constructive feedback. But it is his dedication to his students outside of the classroom that music education graduates praise just as often. This combination earned him the Roy E. Larsen Award for Excellence in Teaching, which honors full-time University of Hartford faculty members for excellence in teaching and contributions to University life.

“Professor Haston truly taught me how to teach,” Vanessa Wudyka, band director at Leonard J. Tyl Middle School in Oakdale, Conn., wrote in her nomination letter. “Some of the things I remember the most were his precise and constructive feedback, discussions about my teaching reflections, lesson plans and experiences, and the genuine feeling that he cared about me and my success.”

Haston’s Hartt School colleagues agree that he truly cares about his students. They note that he attends nearly every band and orchestra concert, many of which are held on nights and weekends, to send a message to his students that musicianship matters.

“Often, music education professors and students get so wrapped up in the pedagogy of teaching music that they forget that mastery of the subject they are teaching is essential,” Glen Adsit, Hartt School director of bands wrote. “This, in part, is what makes Warren so special.”

Haston actively seeks out ways to contribute to University life through leadership positions. He is chair of the undergraduate music education program and director of Summerterm at The Hartt School. He holds workshops for local music teachers, and frequently helps former students who reach out to him for advice and mentorship. These alumni are now sharing his lessons with their own students, extending Haston’s positive influence far beyond campus.

Haston, who joined the University in 2007, earned his bachelor’s degree in music education and his master’s in performance-conducting from the University of Texas at El Paso, and his PhD in music education from Northwestern University.

David Macbride ’73, Professor of Composition and Music Theory, The Hartt School: Humphrey R. Tonkin Award for Scholarly and/or Artistic Creativity

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Composer and pianist David Macbride 

’73, DMA, has written numerous works, ranging from solo, chamber, and orchestral music to music for film, TV, dance, and theatre, with an emphasis on percussion. During his more than 30 years teaching composition and music theory at The Hartt School, he has inspired and mentored hundreds of students, many of whom have gone on to become noted professional musicians.

An alumnus of The Hartt School, Macbride is universally recognized as one of the world’s most important composers of percussion music. The Humphrey R. Tonkin Award for Scholarly and/or Artist Creativity recognizes his works that challenge musicians technically, musically, and emotionally. His ability to embrace life’s issues and struggles is evident in pieces such as “Staying the Course,” a composition known to “shake the listeners to their core,” as it presents one note for every soldier who died in the Iraq war.  

As a pianist, Macbride has toured much of the world performing recitals and is also known for his innovative audience-centered compositions. A recent work, “Percussion Park,” is a musical landscape where the audience is invited to freely roam the performance site in search of the music. The commissioned piece “Silent Hands” features an American Sign Language interpreter as part of the ensemble, and is intended to show connections between the expressiveness of sign language and musical gestures.

Macbride’s artistic endeavors have had a major influence on his teaching. He founded The Hartt School’s “Composers Ensemble,” providing an outlet for student composers to perform their own works, and initiated a course encouraging students to perform locally, having presented countless concerts himself throughout the Greater Hartford area and earning the University of Hartford’s Community Service Award in 2001.

Reflecting on his career at the University, Macbride acknowledges his mentor, Professor Emeritus Edward Diemente: “He provided me with positive experiences that set the stage for my composing to develop into a lifelong habit… I often remind my students that we are blessed to be in this world, the world of music, the world we live in.”