The Hartt School Community Division Alumni Newsletter May 2016
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The Compass: May 2016

May 2016

In this Issue

For our final academic-year issue of The Compass, we have selected an outstanding high-school senior to write the The Compass introduction. From the nearly thirty students who are graduating this year, we looked for someone who took lessons at HCD, participated in many of its various programs, and contributed positively to the community.

Chloe Li studied violin in the Hartt Suzuki Program, played in orchestras, chamber groups, outreach concerts, and was selected to perform in String Honors recitals. She will graduate from Hall High School in West Hartford this June and will attend Harvard University in the fall of 2016. On Saturday, June 4, at 1 p.m., Li will present her senior recital. Among the pieces she will perform will be the "Concerto for Two Violins in D Minor" by J.S. Bach, along with her sister and HCD alumna, Zoe Li.

Letter from Chloe Li

Chloe Li as a young child Chloe Li
Chloe as a young child Chloe in 2016

At The Hartt School Community Division, I studied the violin with Donna (Nordstrom) Ngai for thirteen years. Right when I enrolled in kindergarten, I got my first violin. Okay, actually it wasn’t a real violin. We fashioned a pasta box into a violin so I could learn how to properly hold my instrument. I also had a foot mat so I knew where to place my feet in both “rest” and “playing” positions. It is crazy to see how far I have come.

As cliché as it sounds, being part of The Hartt School Community Division has changed my life. The friends I have made, the memories I have accumulated, and the lessons I have learned all have shaped me into the person I am today. I was involved with several chamber groups, including piano trios and string quartets. I also participated in every single Hartt orchestra you can name, from Appoggiatura to the Connecticut Youth Symphony. Participation in these groups helped me to grow as a musician, teaching me to listen to others and, perhaps most importantly, teaching me that “rehearsal is for making music, not practicing it.”

I owe the majority of my thanks to my teacher, Mrs. Ngai. She has called me a “Suzuki baby” because my mom would come to my sister’s violin lessons pregnant (with me). So basically, I have been in the program since—or even before—birth. Up until at least the seventh grade, I was terribly shy in my violin lessons. I remember being afraid to say the wrong answer when Mrs. Ngai asked a question or being terrified that I wasn’t going to play something correctly. However, as I went through my high school years, I began to become more comfortable opening up, and I could see the difference in my playing. Mrs. Ngai has been more than a violin teacher. She has been my therapist, my friend, my mentor, the mom I babysit for, and everything in between. I consider her my second mom.

Studying the violin under Mrs. Ngai has not only been a musical journey, but also an emotional and mental one. She has taught me not only to be a better musician, but also a better person. Her constant encouragement and undying faith has always boosted my morale, giving me confidence even through times of difficulty. Unsuccessful auditions and shaky recitals have taught me how to deal with failure. But stellar performances and sell-out concerts have taught me how to embrace success and all the hard work that went behind it. So this column is basically a big thank you to Mrs. Ngai and the entire Hartt Community Division. I could not imagine my life without such an amazing and dynamic group of teachers and students. I will take the lessons I have learned with me wherever I go in the future.

— Chloe Li

HCD Class of 2016

As the semester closes and our 2,345 students finish up their academic year, HCD would like to recognize the dozens of students who will be graduating from high school and beginning a new chapter in their lives. Twenty-eight graduating seniors in the Class of 2016 submitted their good news to The Compass, and we are pleased to share their reflections and upcoming plans with the greater HCD Alumni community.

Visit our Class of 2016 page to read about what our 2016 HCD Alumni will be doing this fall. Congratulations on your achievements, Class of 2016. 

Jason Aldive Mary Allain Helen Bao Maria Bevilacqua
Jason Aldave Mary Allain Helen Bao Marialena Bevilacqua
Rachel Brown Deanna Casey Emma Damokosh Giana Dinatale
Rachel Brown Deanna Casey Emma Damokosh Giana DiNatale
Anis Ehsani Ian Enders Gabriel Garcia Mellany Gomez
Anis Ehsani Ian Enders Gabriel Garcia Mellany Gomez
Chris Hauptfeld Annie Hetherington-Coy Kathryn Knox Chloe Li
Chris Hauptfeld Annie
Kathryn Knox Chloe Li
Lydia Loiselle Daniel Luo Justin Masayda Colleen McAnaney
Lydia Loiselle Daniel Luo Justin Masayda Colleen McAnaney
Emmett Moberly-LaChance Kirsten Mossberg William Ocampo Madeleine Olson


Kirsten Mossberg William Ocampo Madeleine Olson
Rahul Rajkumar Andrey Vdovenko Emery Wegh Nate Williams
Rahul Rajkumar Andrey Vdovenko Emery Wegh Nate Williams

Join Us at the First Annual HCD Alumni Weekend

May 21-22, 2016: First Annual Hartt Community Division Alumni Weekend
Saturday, May 21–Sunday, May 22, 2016
University of Hartford

Alumni Weekend Ad

We hope that everyone reading this newsletter will be a part of the first annual HCD Alumni Weekend! Each year we plan to celebrate the accomplishments of the various HCD departments as well as honor notable faculty anniversaries. There will be opportunities for alumni and current students to reconnect and interact along with performances for everyone to enjoy.

This year the spotlight will be on the piano and voice departments, as well as Margreet "Maggie" Francis and Nancy Andersen. Francis, chair of the piano department, is celebrating her 40th year of teaching, and Andersen, chair of the voice department, is celebrating her 30th year of teaching.

Saturday, May 21: Voice and Piano Faculty Alumni Concert, 7–9 p.m.
University of Hartford, The Fuller Music Center,  Millard Auditorium

  • Highlights include HCD Voice Faculty performing “The True Story of Cinderella” narrated by Scot Haney, multi-hand piano works, and more.
  • Award Presentations will honor HCD’s long-serving and dedicated faculty
  • Post-concert reception

Sunday, May 22: Voice and Piano Master Classes
University of Hartford, The Fuller Music Center, Bliss Music Room

  • 24 p.m.: Voice Master Class with Broadway Legend Claudia Catania
  • 57 p.m.: Piano Master Class with HCD Piano Department Chair Maggie Francis

All events are free and open to the public. Donations will be accepted for Community Division scholarships, as well as voice and piano program support funds.

Our HCD Family

Laura Metcalf, alumna interview

Laura Metcalf and Laura Kane

Laura Metcalf studied at HCD from 1992–2000 with Laura Kane and was a member of Opus ‘89, Connecticut Youth Symphony, and the Connecticut Children's Chorus. After graduating high school in 2000, Metcalf moved to Boston to attend Boston University's College of Fine Arts, followed by a move to New York for her master's degree at Mannes School of Music. She has been in NYC ever since and has made her career as a professional cellist with a focus on chamber music.

LM: Having incredible opportunities right near my home growing up was such a big part of my development as a musician. I've had the opportunity to play hundreds of concerts all over the world and in major concert halls in New York and elsewhere. All of this would not have happened without the top-notch early training provided by the Hartt School Community Division.

Metcalf debuted her first solo album, First Day, at The Hartt School on Monday, April 25, and also gave a Cello and Chamber Music Master Class on Sunday, April 24. She coached two talented HCD high school cellists, Madeleine Olson and Nathaniel Williams, working with them to develop a more varied sound and guiding them in the mechanics of making great tone.

"What do you like most about this piece?" she asked Olson, a student of Laura Kane. Olson replied that she wanted it to feel "stormy." With Williams, a student of Eric Dahlin, she worked on creating different kinds of soft tone in "Silent Woods" by Dvorak. "Every one of these notes in this measure is glorious," she told him.

The master class closed with a string quartet performing "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik" by Mozart, and Metcalf had each of the quartet members lead the opening until they all agreed on bow use and breathing.

More information about Metcalf's life and music can be found at

Pictured: Laura Metcalf and Laura Kane at Metcalf's concert at The Hartt School in April 2016.

Bernie Lurie
Bernard Lurie (left, then-conductor of the Greater Hartford Youth Orchestra) and Julius Cremisi (center, then-President of the GHYO Association) present the newly adopted GHYO by-laws to Donald Harris (right, former Dean of The Hartt School) on March 22, 1982. Photo from the University of Hartford archives.

HCD Faculty Spotlight

Bernard (Bernie) Lurie

Retired faculty member, orchestra conductor, colleague, and friend Bernard (Bernie) Lurie passed away on March 31, 2016.

An alumnus of The Hartt School, Lurie continued his affiliation with both the college and community divisions of the school after completing his degrees. Lurie was the conductor of the Greater Hartford Youth Orchestra (GHYO, the forerunner of the Connecticut Youth Symphony) for 25 years, during which the orchestra toured Romania, Switzerland, England, Ireland, Scotland, Italy, and China.

“Mr. Lurie” (we would never have called him Bernie) was focused on getting the best out of every player and the orchestra. His hard driving style and attention to detail defined the GHYO for many years.

— Pete Bradley, HCD alumnus and former member of GHYO

On Sunday, April 10, 2016, I attended the final performance of a collaborative concert series between the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and the Connecticut Youth Symphony (CYS). While this performance brought a great sense of pride to me as the Music Director of CYS, it also brought a sense of perspective to the history of Connecticut's premiere youth symphony orchestra.

On this performance, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra paid a final tribute to their long-time Concertmaster, Bernard Lurie, who passed away on March 31, 2016. In addition to performing with the HSO for 50 years, Maestro Lurie served as Music Director of the Greater Hartford Youth Orchestra—now the Connecticut Youth Symphony—for 23 years.

During my years of study at Hartt in the 1970s, I would often stop by the Bliss Music Room on Saturday afternoons and attend concerts on Sunday evenings in Millard Auditorium to hear and watch Bernie encourage passionate music making from young Connecticut musicians. I often harken back to these moments to inspire my direction for CYS. 

A couple of weeks later, Mickey Reisman, our Artist-Mentor for the First Violin section of CYS, turned to me during rehearsal and said, "You know whose bowings these are." Yes, the markings were clearly identifiable. Bernie is still positively impacting the artistry of the young talented artists of CYS and The Hartt Community Division!

Rest In Peace, Maestro Lurie.

Daniel D'Addio, Music Director, Connecticut Youth Symphony; Hartt BM '78

Outside of his involvement at Hartt, Lurie was the concertmaster of the Hartford Symphony for 32 of the 50 years he was a member, as well as for the Connecticut Opera and Hartford Ballet. In his retirement Lurie continued to be an active freelance musician.

More information about Lurie's life and career can be found online.

COMPASS Initiative

Compass Initiative

In the first issue of The Compass, the COMPASS Initiative was introduced. This new Initiative is comprised of three areas: Alumni Network, COMPASS Committee (project-based volunteer support), and Development.

In each issue, we feature Development opportunities, which include four areas that allow donors to support their specific interests: 

  • Access: need-based financial assistance
  • Scholarship: merit-based scholarship
  • Special Initiatives: support for facilities, equipment, and faculty development
  • Programs: general support for Community Division programming

This issue will explore Programs.


Our diverse and innovative programming is what makes The Hartt School Community Division distinctive. Supporting the continued exploration and enhancement of these programs is critical to the development of our students and faculty as whole artists. Programmatic needs come in many forms, including one-off projects, workshops, master classes, commissioned compositions, community outreach opportunities, and more.

Program Funds:

  • Alice Kaiser Fund, chamber music support
  • Connecticut Youth Symphony Program Fund
  • David Einfeldt Memorial Fund, Suzuki program support
  • Friends of Dance, supports dance productions and programs

Contribute towards Programs.

From the Stage

The Red ShoesThe Red Shoes

Friday, June 10, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, June 11, 2 and 7:30 p.m. 
Sunday, June 12, 2 p.m.

University of Hartford's Millard Auditorium

Tickets for HCD's spring ballet production, The Red Shoes, are on sale now. The world premiere of the The Red Shoes will be on Friday, June 10, 2016, at 7:30 p.m. The ballet features a newly created score with live piano, recorded music, new compositions by Jessica Rudman, and original story and choreography by Susannah Marchese. Additional matinee and evening performances follow on June 11 and 12. Performances will be in Millard Auditorium at the University of Hartford, 200 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford. Ticket prices are $30 for adults; $15 for children 12 and under; and $20 for students and senior citizens with ID. Call the University Box Office at 860.768.4228 or 800.274.8587 or visit to purchase tickets.

The Red Shoes Performance Times:

  • Friday, June 10, at 7:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, June 11, at 2 p.m.
  • Saturday, June 11, at 7:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, June 12, at 2 p.m.

The story: Based loosely on the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale, The Red Shoes tells the story of a young girl in 1929 New York City. She dreams of a better life—one filled with excitement, music, and dancing. But be careful what you wish for. A gift of a pair of red shoes changes her life forever, with unfortunate consequences.

Share Your Story

If you are an HCD alumnus and are interested in being featured in a future edition of The Compass e-newsletter, email Thank you for sharing your accomplishments with us!