Hartt Hosts Festival of American Song, April 3–5

The Hartt School will host its first ever Festival of American Song, held April 3–5. The festival will include master classes and performances, all of which are free to the public.

Through the vision of Department of Vocal Studies Director Deborah Lifton, The Hartt School conceived an ambitious festival to celebrate and promote the rich repertoire of American song. Lasting over three days and featuring three public performances, the Festival of American Song provides important performance opportunities for current undergraduate and graduate students, features world-class Hartt faculty members and guest artists, and even spotlights a living American composer. This high-caliber concentration of song is unique among universities and creates a one-of-a-kind experience for the Hartford community and University students.

Joining the Department of Vocal Studies in this endeavor is the Cincinnati Song Initiative (CSI), an award-winning nonprofit organization dedicated to the promotion and innovation of song. Led by Hartt Artist Teacher Samuel Martin, CSI provides guest artists of international renown who take part in concerts during the festival. It is just another example of how The Hartt School innovates and connects students to active professionals in the industry, all while bringing world-class artistry to the campus community.

Martin is elated about the collaboration for the Festival, saying, “Cincinnati Song Initiative is honored to partner with The Hartt School, which inherently understands and supports the need to create unique and innovative opportunities for twenty-first century students. We are delighted to play a small role in this inaugural Festival of American Song, and cannot wait to share our artists’ talent and beauty alongside Hartt faculty and their incredible students.”

Lifton also echoes Martin’s enthusiasm for the event. "The Department of Vocal Studies is thrilled to be partnering with CSI in bringing the Festival of American Song to the University of Hartford. Through our commitment to performing songs written by living American composers, we foster our belief that the song recital is a living, breathing art form that brings together great music and great poetry. We are excited to showcase this wonderful music in right here in Hartford, while providing essential learning opportunities for our students."

The 2024 Festival of American Song Events:

April 3, at 7:30 p.m., in Millard Auditorium: An Evening of American Song

  • This year’s inaugural Festival features talented Hartt singers in a diverse and entertaining opening concert of American song from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

April 4, at 7:30 p.m., in Millard Auditorium: Paradise Rivers: The Songs of Lori Laitman

  • Hartt faculty members and Cincinnati Song Initiative guest artists share a program devoted to the songs of legendary composer Lori Laitman, who will be in residence during the week.
  • Artists: Michelle Fiertek, soprano (Hartt faculty); Deborah Lifton, soprano (Hartt faculty); Lisabeth Miller (Hartt faculty); Blythe Gaissert, mezzo (CSI guest artist); Dylan Morrongiello, tenor (CSI guest artist); Samuel Martin, piano (Hartt faculty and CSI Founding Artistic Director); Eric Trudel, piano (Hartt faculty).

April 5, at 12:45 p.m., in Berkman Recital Hall: Master Class: The Songs of Lori Laitman

  • Lori Laitman leads a class on her own songs, performed by talented Hartt students. It is followed by a Q&A with the composer, moderated by Artist Teacher Samuel Martin.