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Academic and Contemporary Studies

Ed Alton

Bachelor of Music,
Double Bass/Composition '81

Hartt Alumni Award 2014

 Ed Alton Hartt Alumni Award 2014Ed Alton, BMus ’81 has sustained an impressive career in the Los Angeles TV, film and recording industries for nearly thirty years. To date, he has composed scores for over 530 episodes of 31 different prime time network TV series and performed as bassist on over 70 feature film soundtracks. His career has been distinguished by numerous accolades including five ASCAP Top TV Composer Awards, an Emmy Nomination, and several Gold & Platinum record awards.

In 2006, when My Boys premiered on TBS, Daily Variety’s review singled-out the music score, “My Boys dresses up its high-carb mentality with all the requisite trappings, from Ed Alton's bluesy score to the deftly interwoven Windy City exteriors and sets.” In 1998, Mr. Alton’s song performed by Bernadette Peters on the CBS series The Closer was recognized with an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Music & Lyrics. In 1997, Daily Variety recognized Mr. Alton as one of TV’s top theme composers when it listed him as #5 among Nielsen’s Top 90’s TV Themesters. His Single Guy theme was included on the popular Greatest TV Themes of the 90’s CD.

Some of Mr. Alton’s more prominent TV compositions include the scores for the 1980’s hit series Head of the Class, the top-ten rated series Suddenly Susan, and The Single Guy, both of which ran during the peak of NBC’s successful Thursday night “Must See TV” reign. Recent well-known series have included My Boys on TBS and Whitney on NBC. His music is augmented by his multi-instrumental skills, since he personally plays many of the instruments used on his own soundtracks.

Mr. Alton’s celebrated work in the recording industry includes arranging and conducting on the Britney Spears multi Platinum CD In the Zone, and performances on the Gold Record-winning albums Flying Cowboys by Rikki Lee Jones as well as the soundtrack to the film The Breakfast Club.

Mr. Alton has written scores for three musicals for the stage. A Night at the Nutcracker, published by Samuel French, recently had several nationwide performances including at Cabrillo Stage and Racine Theater Guild.

As a studio musician, Mr. Alton performed bass on the soundtracks of such popular films as Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, The Breakfast Club, Beverly Hills Cop 2, Ghost Busters 2, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, City Slickers, and Planes, Trains and Automobiles. He has also performed and toured internationally with The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra.

In addition to music, Mr. Alton’s passion for drawing keeps him busy on several of his own personal art projects.

Mr. Alton is a West Hartford, CT native and graduated from The Hartt School with Bachelor’s Degrees in both Music and Composition in 1981. He currently resides in Los Angeles with his wife and daughter.

Peter Boyer

Master of Music, Composition, 1993
Doctor of Musical Arts, Composition, 1995
Hartt Alumnus of the Year, 2002

Peter Boyer HeadshotPeter Boyer is a GRAMMY®-nominated composer and conductor whose concert works have received over 300 live performances by more than 100 orchestras. He has conducted recordings of his music with three of the world’s finest orchestras: the London Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. His music has received numerous national broadcasts in the U.S. and abroad, and he has garnered seven national awards for his work.

Conductor Keith Lockhart chose Boyer for the Boston Pops' 125th anniversary commission honoring the legacy of John, Robert, and Ted Kennedy. The premiere of Boyer's "Kennedy Brothers" in 2010, narrated by Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, and Ed Harris, was attended by members of the Kennedy family, and received extensive national media attention. The Boston Pops also performed the work on their Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular for an audience of over 750,000; gave it two separate telecasts; performed it at the Tanglewood Music Festival with narrator Alec Baldwin; and released its recording.

Boyer’s major work Ellis Island: The Dream of America, premiered by the Hartford Symphony under his direction in 2002, has received over 150 live performances by more than 65 orchestras, making it one of the most-performed American orchestral works of the last decade. His recording on the Naxos label was nominated for a GRAMMY® Award for Best Classical Contemporary Composition.

In addition to his work for the concert hall, Boyer is active in the film and television music industry. He has contributed orchestrations to more than 20 film scores, for leading Hollywood composers including Thomas Newman, James Horner, Alan Menken, Michael Giacchino, Mark Isham, and Harry Gregson-Williams. Boyer has twice arranged music for the Academy Awards, and composed music for The History Channel. His music has appeared in documentary film, short films, and a variety of television programs.

As conductor, Boyer has led such orchestras as the Brooklyn Philharmonic, Hartford Symphony, Rhode Island Philharmonic, Richmond Symphony and Pasadena Symphony in concert, and has conducted recording sessions from London's famed Abbey Road and AIR Studios to the scoring stages of Los Angeles.  In recent seasons, Boyer has served as Composer-in-Residence of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra (2010-11) and the Pasadena Symphony (2012-13). His latest recording, featuring his Symphony No. 1 and four other works with the LPO, was released by Naxos in its American Classics Series in February 2014.

Barbara Kolb

This is a picture of Barbara KolbBorn in Connecticut, Barbara Kolb attended The Hartt School where she received her B.M (cum laude) and M.M. degrees.  She has been the recipient of many awards, including three Tanglewood Fellowships, four MacDowell Fellowships, and two Guggenheim Fellowships.  Ms. Kolb became the first woman to receive the American Prix de Rome (1969-71) in music competition.  She was also awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for a year of study in Vienna.

Ms. Kolb's music is characterized by interwoven, impressionistic textures and a freely atonal yet deeply expressive harmonic language.  Many of her works have drawn upon ideas and images having their sources in literature or the visual arts.

Among the many commissions received by Barbara Kolb during the 1970's were those from the Koussevitzky Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts, the Washington Performing Arts Society, the Music Teacher's National Association, and the Fromm Foundation (1970, 1980).  She has been awarded grants from the Institute of Arts and Letters (1973) and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The numerous major performances of Ms. Kolb's works include those by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Pierre Boulez (December 1975) and by the Boston Symphony under the direction of Seiji Ozawa, the latter both in Boston and on the BSO's Japanese tour in  March 1978.

From 1979 to 1982 Ms. Kolb was Artistic Director of Contemporary Music at the Third Street Music School Settlement. presenting the Music New to New York concert series. In 1983-84 she spent nine months in residence at IRCAM, where she received a commission for Millefoglie, for chamber ensemble and computer tape.  Subsequent to its premiere in Paris, Millefoglie has been performed in Amsterdam, Brussels, Cologne, Dallas, Washington DC, Gelsenkirche (Germany), Helsinki, Liege, Montreal, San Francisco, Vienna and Tokyo, where it was played by the Tokyo Sinfonietta under Kunitaka Kokaji as part of the 1996 Tokyo Summer Festival.  In 1984-85 Ms. Kolb held the post of visiting professor of composition at the Eastman School of Music; in 1986 she created, under the auspices of the Library of Congress, a music theory instruction program for the blind and physically impaired.

One of the composer's most widely-performed works is Voyants, for solo piano and chamber orchestra, commissioned by Radio France in 1991 with L'Orchestre de Radio France under the direction of Joel Revsen with Jay Gottlieb, pianist. Its U.S. premiere took place in February 1992 on an all-Kolb program by the Theater Chamber Players at the Kennedy Center.  In October of the same year, Voyants appeared on another all-Kolb concert, this one performed on Austrian radio by the Ensemble of the 20th Century.  In addition, the American Symphony Orchestra, I Solisti di Villa Abrizzi (Venice), the Seattle Symphony, and the Memphis Symphony Orchestra have all programmed the piece.

Ms. Kolb's recent chamber works include New York Moonglow, commissioned by Elisa Monte Dance and scored for a mixed sextet of saxophones, trumpet, strings and percussion; and Sidebars, a duet for bassoon and piano composed for Italian bassoonist Stefano Canuti.  Virgin Mother Creatrix, an a cappella choral work inspired by the mysticism of Hildegarde of Bingen, had its premiere in March 1998 at the International Festival of Women Composers at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where Ms. Kolb was the featured composer.

Reprinted by kind permission of Boosey and Hawkes

For more information about Barbara Kolb and her works, please visit: www.boosey.com and www.newmusicbox.org

David Macbride

Alumni Award Recipient 2011
Bachelor of Music, Composition 1973

This is a picture of David Macbride

David H. Macbride is a renowned composer and current professor of composition and music theory at The Hartt School, widely recognized for his work in the challenging and exotic world of percussion music.  Of Eurasian heritage, Macbride was born in Berkley, California, in 1951.  He received his Bachelor of Music, Music Composition, in 1973, and while at Hartt, Macbride studied under Edward Diemente.  Macbride continued his studies at Columbia University, where he earned his Master of Arts (1976) and Doctorate of Musical Arts (1980) in Music Composition.   

He has written numerous works, ranging from solo, chamber, and orchestral music to music for film, television, dance, and theatre, with particular emphasis on music for percussion and music for voice.  His works have been performed extensively in the United States and abroad.  Recent performances of his work include the Hartford Symphony, the Arditti String Quartet, League ISCM, Percussive Arts Society International Convention, World Saxophone Congress, and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.

A resident of Bloomfield, Connecticut,  Macbride has been extremely active in bringing diverse music to the Greater Hartford Community, having produced numerous outdoor events in Elizabeth Park and other venues over the past fifteen years.  He regularly performs in schools and senior citizen homes, and recently received the University of Hartford Community Service Award in recognition of his contributions.