2018 Hartt Alumni Award Recipient
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2018 Hartt Alumni Award Recipient

Shane Shanahan HeadshotThe University of Hartford’s The Hartt School has named percussionist Shane Shanahan MM’98 as the recipient of the 2018 Hartt Alumni Award. The award will be presented to Shanahan, who received his Master of Music degree from The Hartt School in 1998, during Commencement ceremonies on Sunday, May 20, 2018.

Grammy Award-winning percussionist Shanahan has cultivated his own unique and highly sought-after sound by combining his studies of drumming traditions from around the world with his background in jazz, rock, and Western art music. His interest in other cultures has led to extended visits to Turkey, India, and Tajikistan among others. Shanahan’s rare set of diverse skills is what attracted Yo-Yo Ma when he was forming the Silk Road Ensemble. In the summer of 2000, Shanahan was invited to Tanglewood where he played an important role in the formation of the group. Ever since, he has been touring around the globe, performing side by side with Mr. Ma as an original member of the award-winning Silk Road Ensemble. He is currently co-artistic director of the group.

Shanahan is also a member of frame drum master Glen Velez’s TaKaDiMi Ensemble and cellist Maya Beiser’s Provenance Project. He has performed and/or recorded with Bobby McFerrin, Aretha Franklin, Philip Glass, Alison Krause, Sonny Fortune, Deep Purple, Jordi Savall, Fantasia, Chaka Khan, G. E. Smith, Simon Shaheen, Jamey Haddad, Cyro Baptista, Anindo Chaterjee, Sandeep Das, Shahram Nazeri, Alim Qasimov, Kayhan Kalhor, Howard Levy, and Steve Gorn among others.

During the 2009–10 season, Shanahan co-curated a 40-week concert series at the American Museum of Natural History for the Traveling the Silk Road exhibit. He was also highly involved in The Bridge Project, a three-year trans-Atlantic partnership uniting the Brooklyn Academy of Music, The Old Vic theatre of London, and Neal Street Productions. Shanahan was one of two featured musicians in Shakespeare’s As You Like It and The Tempest, directed by Oscar winner Sam Mendes. After two months of performances in New York, the production commenced an extensive tour of Asia and Europe. On Broadway, Shanahan has played for Caroline, Or Change; The Color Purple; Shrek; and Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.

“I couldn’t be more proud of Shane and his many accomplishments. He has cultivated a truly unique musical voice, as is evidenced by his work with Yo-Yo Ma and so many others. He continues to provide inspiration for Hartt percussion students through his performances and teaching,” said Benjamin Toth, professor of percussion. He continued, “I am thrilled that Shane is being honored with the Hartt Alumni Award, as he has long been a generous and invaluable musical ambassador for The Hartt School.”