Newsletter: August 15, 2017
Utility NavTop NavContentLeft NavSite SearchSite SearchSite Search

Newsletter: August 15, 2017

HCD on Facebook HCD on Twitter HCD on Instagram HCD on YouTube HCD Blog

The next issue will be published Sept. 12, 2017. The deadline for submissions is Sept. 5. For a full schedule of deadlines, please visit

Spotlight on Fall Programs

Welcome New Faculty!

News and Accolades

Spotlight On Fall Programs

Hartt Preparatory Academy

Hartt Preparatory Academy

Hartt Preparatory Academy (HPA) is accepting applications for the 2017–2018 academic year. HPA is two-year, comprehensive precollege music training program for high school juniors and seniors. 

Get a head start on your college-level music training. The HPA program includes the following classes: music theory, ear training, keyboard studies, informational literacy and writing, performances, advanced ensemble, and private instruction. Classes meet Monday and Thursday evenings, September to May, in addition to regular private lessons and ensemble work.

Classes are modeled after the first-year music course of study at the University of Hartford's The Hartt School. Upon completion, students who successfully audition and are accepted to The Hartt School are eligible for a three-year or shortened program.*

The inaugural class begins Monday, September 18, 2017. We are now accepting applications. Apply online at

*The proposed reduced undergraduate incentives are pending final approval by the University of Hartford.



Location: The Hartt School Community Division, 200 Bloomfield Ave., West Hartford, Conn.

Faculty: David Madsen

Tuition: $425

SAVE $25: The early-bird deadline to register for the Suzuki Workshop: Revisiting Guitar Unit 1 is Sept. 1. 

Revisiting Guitar Unit 1 is a course for experienced Suzuki teachers who would like to repeat the Book 1 class in a shorter format than the introductory Book 1 class. This course includes fifteen hours of class plus three hours of observations over three days.

Workshop participants must have completed "Every Child Can!," Unit 1, and taught at least one year to enroll in Revisiting Guitar Unit 1. Active Suzuki Association of the Americas (SAA) membership is required of all course participants. This class does not allow auditing.

Register online.

David Madsen and Suzuki Student

Pictured: David Madsen with Hartt Suzuki Institute student

Young Composers Project

YCP 2017The Young Composers Project: Summer Edition just wrapped up two week-long sessions. The 2017–18 academic-year program—which runs from Sunday, October 22, to Tuesday, May 15, 2018—is now enrolling. If you're a student in grades 7–12 (or homeschool equivalent) who is interested in writing your own music, the Young Composers Project (YCP) is an opportunity to delve into music composition. 

YCP is for students with an interest in

  • learning to express themselves through music
  • gaining a deeper understanding of how music works
  • sharing their music with other students
  • studying with active and enthusiastic mentor composers
  • working with professional musicians
  • hearing their music realized in live performance

Students may enroll in one of three sessions:

  • Tuesdays, 7:30–8:30 p.m.
  • Sundays, 3–4 pm, or
  • Sundays, 4:15–5:15 p.m.

Download the 2017–18 YCP calendar (PDF).


Coming soon: Interested in music composition but looking for a shorter time commitment? We will also be offering Compose Yourself (6 weeks, for grades 4–8 and 8–12) and Songwriting (6 weeks, for grades 8–12). Stay tuned for additional information.

Fall Dance Classes

Fall danceFall dance classes for youth and adults are now enrolling! HCD dance classes are held in the spacious studios of the Mort and Irma Handel Performing Arts Center (HPAC) in Hartford, Conn., close by the University of Hartford’s main campus. Classes are offered for students ages 3 through adult and are taught by an experienced and knowledgeable professional faculty. The program includes pre-K dance classes; youth classes in classical ballet, hip hop, jazz, and tap; and ballet, jazz, and tap for teens and adults.

Adult classes are available at a drop-in rate of $17 per class, as space permits. Ten-class dance cards are available for $150.

For more information about HCD dance programs, visit our website, call 860.768.6000, or email

Welcome New Faculty!

If you see these new faces this fall, please welcome them to The Hartt School Community Division.


Blake BraschAfter completing graduate study at Ohio University and a Bachelors in Music Performance at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Blakely “Blake” Brasch joined the faculty of the Music Institute of Chicago in 1996, where was a Suzuki cello teacher for over 20 years.

A respected teacher, he received a Certificate of Achievement from the Suzuki Association of the Americas (SAA) in 2009 and became registered teacher trainer in 2010. He is a frequent clinician at Suzuki institutes and workshops throughout the US and Canada and has presented at several SAA conferences. His students have been selected to participate in master classes and orchestras at the SAA conference in Minn.; to be principal players in area high schools, the Midwest Young Artists Orchestra, and the Illinois Music Educators State High School Orchestra; and are prize-winners in Society of American Musicians competition. His students that have chosen to pursue a career in music have been admitted to Northwestern University, the Eastman School of Music, the Cleveland Institute of Music, Oberlin Conservatory, Stanford University, University of Illinois, Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University, Yale University, and the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University.

Read More about Blake Brasch.

REAGAN BRASCH, Violin/Suzuki Violin, Early Childhood Education Coordinator

Reagan BraschReagan Brasch grew up studying in the Suzuki method with Paula Woyton in Texas. She graduated with a Bachelors of Music in violin performance and received her Masters in Music with an emphasis in Suzuki Pedagogy from the University of Denver. After teaching with Denver Talent Education for five years with James Maurer, she moved to Chicago to teach at the Music Institute of Chicago under the direction of Gilda Barston. She has had additional Suzuki training from Linda Fiore, Joanne Bath, Ann Smelser, Doris Preucil, Michele George, and Pat D’Ercole. Brasch gives both private and group instruction in Suzuki as well as chamber coaching. She was also program director and teacher of the early childhood Musikgarten classes to toddlers and preschoolers. She was twice awarded the Outstanding Teacher by the Alliance for Early Childhood. She has written articles for the Suzuki Association of the Americas (SAA) Journal as well as for SAA eletter. Brasch has taught extensively at Suzuki institutes and workshops around the country.

When not teaching, she enjoys reading, gardening, and anything cat or quilt related.


Daniel BrevikDaniel "Danny" Brevik, bass-baritone, grew up in Holliston, Massachusetts. He graduated from Plymouth State University with a BA in voice. After winning first place at Boston National Association of Teachers of Singing song and aria competition, Brevik was the selected recipient of the Wendy Shattuck Presidential Scholarship to attend New England Conservatory in Boston. Taken under the wing of Stephen Lord (listed among the top “25 Most Powerful Names in U.S. Opera” by Opera News), Brevik was accepted into Opera Theatre of Saint Louis (OTSL) as a Young Artist. After a successful first summer, OTSL contracted him several times for educational outreach, auxiliary roles, and donor events.

Read more about Daniel Brevik.

Jennifer FijalMezzo-soprano Jennifer Fijal hails from Palmer, Massachusetts. She pursued her bachelor's degree at Plymouth State University in vocal performance and pedagogy. She continued on to the prestigious New England Conservatory of Music (NEC) for her master’s degree in voice and opera. At NEC, Fijal was involved in outreach operas, choruses, entrepreneurial courses, and historically significant performances, including the North American premiere of Rossini's La Gazzetta.

Critics have described her voice as "lovely" and possessing "rich timbre and a range of musical coloring." In 2016, Jennifer joined a non-profit organization in Fort Wayne, Indiana called Heartland Sings. During her stay as a full-time Vocal Artist, she performed extensively in a variety of styles including classical, Celtic, pop, liturgical, jazz, musical theater alongside Les Misérables star J. Mark McVey, and a cappella with Sweden’s The Real Group. Jennifer helped pioneer the curriculum for Heartland Sings Vocal Arts Institute and has taught students privately, and in both a classroom and choir setting. 

Read more about Jennifer Fijal.

Sarkis Kaltakhtchian and René Olivier Join HCD Dance Faculty

Kaltakhtchian and Olivier come to Hartt from the Charlotte Ballet

Sarkis and Rene

Professional dancers Sarkis Kaltakhtchian and René Olivier are joining The Hartt School Community Division (HCD) dance faculty this fall, under the direction of Chair of Dance Carol Roderick. Kaltakhtchian and Olivier will be teaching students in HCD’s Classical Ballet program.

“I am so pleased to welcome Sarkis and René to our exceptional dance faculty team,” says HCD Director Noah Blocker-Glynn. “They bring a wealth of educational, artistic, and performance experience that complements our school and our standard of teaching excellence. In addition to being gifted artists and teachers, Sarkis and René are genuinely two of the nicest people I have met.”

Kaltakhtchian and Olivier join HCD from Charlotte Ballet Academy. Both have taught students who have gone on to train at prestigious schools such as the Houston Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Royal Ballet, and National Ballet of Canada, as well as students who have joined top-notch dance companies such as the Charlotte Ballet, Tulsa Ballet Theater, Hong Kong Ballet, and Colorado Ballet.

“Their transition from performers into teaching and coaching positions afforded many lucky students the opportunity to benefit from their experience and knowledge,” says Roderick, who worked with Kaltakhtchian and Olivier at the Tulsa Ballet Theater when she was on faculty and they were performers. “From the beginning, it was apparent that they are both great dancers and wonderful people. In time, I also became aware of their great skills, abilities, and profound dedication to the art form. It is an honor and a privilege for me to have the good fortune to work with them again and welcome them to faculty of The Hartt Community Division.”

About Sarkis Kaltakhtchian
A native of Armenia, Kaltakhtchian began dancing at nine years old. He studied in the Vaganova method at the Choreographic Institute of Yerevan, where he graduated with honors, then joined the Armenian National Ballet. In 1989, Kaltakhtchian was invited to join Ballets Classique de Montreal. He also performed with Banff Festival of the Arts, Classical Ballet of Costa Rica, Ottowa Ballet, Hartford Ballet, Charlotte Ballet, and Tulsa Ballet Theatre.

Kaltakhtchian retired from the stage in 2005, becoming a faculty member and administrator at the Centre for Dance Education at Tulsa Ballet and Tulsa Ballet II, and a guest faculty teacher with the Chautauqua Institution in New York before joining the faculty of Charlotte Ballet Academy in 2010, where he was named artistic vice principal in 2014.

About René Olivier
Olivier started her career in South Africa in 1990 with Natal Performing Arts Council Ballet Company, later renamed The Playhouse Dance Company. In 1991, she received the "Most Promising Dancer" award from Friends of the Playhouse Dance Company, and in 1997 she was awarded the First National Bank Vita award for her performances with the Playhouse Dance Company. In 1998 she joined Alberta Ballet in Calgary, Canada, and from 1999–2009, she was a soloist with Tulsa Ballet Theater. She transitioned from professional dancer to teacher in 2009, joining the faculty of the Charlotte Ballet in 2010.

Olivier began dancing at age four, when her mother took her to her first ballet class. Her career as a professional dancer blossomed, earning her the opportunity to perform in an array of memorable featured and principal roles, including a performance for former president of South Africa Nelson Mandela. Olivier encourages her serious students to reflect on their passion. “When we are immersed in intense training and rigorous hours towards achieving our dreams, we can sometimes get so wrapped up in all the aspects of our dancing that needs improvement; this reality is what drives us, but it can also steal away the love that we have for dance,” says Olivier. “I sometimes remind students to think about why they started dancing in the first place. Always, go back to that place.”

About Dance Classes
HCD dance classes are held in the spacious studios of the Mort and Irma Handel Performing Arts Center (HPAC) in Hartford, Conn., close by the University of Hartford’s main campus. Classes are offered for students ages 3 through adult and are taught by an experienced and knowledgeable professional faculty. The program includes pre-K dance classes; youth classes in classical ballet, hip hop, jazz, and tap; and ballet, jazz, and tap for teens and adults.

For more information about HCD dance programs, visit, call 860.768.6000, or email

Perry Roth Joins HCD Saxophone Faculty

Perry RothSaxophonist Perry Roth is an accomplished solo artist, chamber musician and educator. Roth holds the tenor saxophone chair in the Barkada Quartet, which he joined in the spring of 2017. As an avid performer, Roth has performed with the Baton Rouge Symphony, the Hartt Symphony, the JACK Quartet, the American Modern Ensemble, Third Coast Percussion, and the Atlanta Saxophone Quartet. Roth has premiered new works for saxophone by composers Crystal Birdsong, Robert Carl, Kyle Grimm, Steven Kowaleski, Marc Mellits, Chris Niner, Jeffrey Perry, Jay Rauch, and Jacob Shrum among others.

As an educator, Roth has previously served on the faculty of the Louisiana Stage University Performing Arts Academy, while concurrently serving as the saxophone instructor for the prestigious Wando High School band program in the summers. Roth presented master classes at Southern University (La.), the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and Shenandoah Conservatory. Roth’s students have been accepted to music schools across the country and have earned all-state band awards at several levels.

As a jazz and commercial artist, Roth performed regularly with Rosie and the Swingin’ Riveters throughout his time in Louisiana as well as with Theatre Baton Rouge, Ascension Community Theatre, and Baton Rouge Youth Theatre. Currently a doctoral candidate at The Hartt School, Roth has earned an MM degree from Louisiana State University, where he served as the saxophone teaching assistant. Additionally, Roth earned a Bachelor of Music Education and a performer’s certificate from the University of South Carolina. Roth’s principal teachers include Jan Berry Baker, Griffin Campbell, Connie Frigo, Carrie Koffman, Clifford Leaman, and Deborah Chodacki (clarinet).

Read more about Perry Roth.

Heather J. wagner, Adaptive music Lessons Faculty

Heather WagnerHeather J. Wagner, Ph.D., MT-BC, currently works both as a music therapy clinician and adjunct faculty at several universities. Most recently, Wagner has been appointed as part-time music therapy faculty at Berklee College and provides music therapy services in a variety of settings with people of varying ages and needs. In addition to her board certification as a music therapist, she holds Connecticut teacher certification in music and has extensive experience working with children. Musically, Wagner is a freelance musician playing with a variety of ensembles on flute, piccolo, and bass.

About Adaptive Music Lessons
Like traditional music lessons, the primary goal of adaptive music lessons is skill acquisition on an instrument. For some individuals, traditional approaches to learning music may not be appropriate and modifications may be required in order to meet the learning goals. In adaptive lessons, the lesson and the material is tailored to the individual needs of each student, whether these needs are behavioral, cognitive, social, emotional, or physical in nature. These accommodations are made to provide the best possible music learning experience for each student.

News and Accolades

From Studio to Stage Summer Intensive Wraps Up

Congratulations to all the From Studio to Stage and From Studio to Stage II students who spent several weeks this summer in a rigorous dance program. Under the direction of Chair of Dance Carol Roderick, students, distinguished guest faculty included:

FSTS headpieces
  • Ted Kivitt, Professor, SUNY Purchase, formerly principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre, artistic director of Milwaukee Ballet
  • Michelle Lucci, Master Teacher, formerly principal dancer with Milwaukee Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Royal Winnipeg Ballet
  • Pia Russo, International Master Teacher, formerly Tulsa Ballet School Principal. La Scala Dance Academy
  • Victoria Lane Green, academy director and performing soloist with Ballett Kiel, Germany
  • Adriana Suarez, Boston Conservatory, formerly Boston Ballet
  • Gianni Di Marco, Boston Conservatory, formerly Boston Ballet, The Royal Winnipeg Ballet
  • Joan Lazarus, former executive director of Oakland Ballet, general manager of Cowell Theater and executive director of Westwave Dance

Pictured above: FSTS students making headpieces for their final performance.

FSTS with Eva J
FSTS students at their last day of Character class with Eva Janiszewski.

From Stage to Studio Students
FSTS II students at the barre.

From Stage to Studio Students
FSTS II students show off their costume design skills with home-made tiaras. Pictured with Assistant to the Chair Jillian Cote.

Thanks to all of our students and faculty for their hard work and dedication! Check out more photos on the HCD Instagram under the hashtag #FSTS2017 and on Facebook.


By Jessica Rudman, Creative Studies Chair

This past year, Hartt Community Division student performers collaborated with student composers to bring to life almost twenty new musical compositions. These collaborations are an important experience for both the performers and the composers. In working with the ensembles, each composer would consult with the group’s director or coach, attend rehearsals, and work with the performers as they prepared the piece. The students would be able to meet the composers, ask them questions, and receive coachings from them. We have featured most of these collaborations in newsletter articles in the past few months and will be telling you a bit about the final one here.

Dan Lis, composer and HCD RegistrarThe Greater Hartford Youth Wind Ensemble (GHYWE) premiered Dan Lis’s "Beyond This Time We Share" at their May 14 concert. The piece is a double concerto written for sisters Sarah and Kate Jessen, a pair of graduating seniors who play trumpet and clarinet. In writing the piece, Lis (pictured) intended to “honor the bond they share between them, capture their personalities and playing styles, and make it a challenging work that also has deep personal meaning.” He hopes “they will be able to take the piece with them as they go off to college, especially as their paths separate and converge in life.”

To create solo parts that were tailored to the twins, Dan met with them before starting to compose, so that he could “hear them play, find out their personalities, ask them about their favorite and least favorite repertoire, and note how [he] could challenge them.” He also checked in with the twins’ private teachers and with GHYWE conductor Glen Adsit to make sure the music he was writing would be appropriate.

Lis approached composing the work by creating a short score before arranging the music for the full wind ensemble. A short score will include parts for the solo instruments and a small number of other staves where music can be notated without committing to which instrument would play each layer. This allows the music to focus on the melodies, harmonies, and form while figuring out the exact colors and textures once the basic structure is set. Dan notes that “this is one of [the] few pieces [he] wrote in short score before orchestrating, and it resulted in clearer themes and textures.”

Watch the video of the premiere of "Beyond This Time We Share":

Performance Passport Winners

Performance Passport

Congratulations to our performance travelers! Rebecca Clark, harp student of Susan Knapp Thomas, attended the most performances during the 2016–17 academic year. Other well-traveled participants include Anna Gilchenok, Suzuki violin student of Christie Felsing; Amanda Ellis, adult dance student; Pearl Rourke, harp student of Susan Knapp Thomas and Class of 2017 senior; Monica Weidman, Suzuki cello student and Suzuki piano student of Malgosia Lis; Kate Chritton, tuba student of Katie Bonner-Russo; and Veronica Marquez, piano student of Ruriko Wheeler and ballet student. Thanks to all the Performance Passport participants!

HCD e-letter Submissions

The HCD e-letter is a great place to publish accolades, news, and events concerning HCD faculty, students, and staff. If you have an article or upcoming event to submit, please email and indicate “HCD e-letter submission” in the title. 

The next issue will be published Sept. 12, 2017. The deadline for submissions is Sept. 5. For a full schedule of deadlines, please visit