Featured Artists

2018 Composer-in-Residence: Tawnie Olson

Described as “especially glorious… ethereal” by Whole Note, and “a highlight of the concert” by the Boston Musical Intelligencer, the music of Canadian composer Tawnie Olson draws inspiration from politics, spirituality, the natural world, and the musicians for whom she composes. She has received commissions from the Canadian Art Song Project, Third Practice/New Music USA, the Canada Council for the Arts, Mount Holyoke College/The Women’s Philharmonic, the Blue Water Chamber Orchestra, Ithaca College, and the Yale Institute of Sacred Music’s Robert Baker Commissioning Fund, among others. In 2017, she received an OPERA America Discovery Grant to develop a new work about Hildegard of Bingen and Eleanor of Aquitaine with re:Naissance Opera (libretto by Roberta Barker), and a Canada Council for the Arts Professional Development Grant to study field recording at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. She is the winner of the 2015 Iron Composer Competition, and has won awards from SOCAN and The Guelph Camber Choir/Musica Viva.

Recent projects include Three Songs on Poems by Lorri Neilsen Glenn, for soprano and piano, commissioned by the Canadian Art Song Project for Magali Simard-Galdès, Summer’s End, commissioned by The Sebastians, an arrangment/recomposition of “Know the Way” (by electronica artist Grimes), commissioned by the Cluster Festival for the Plumes Ensemble, Magnificat, commissioned by Karen Clute for the Elm City Girls Choir and Yale Schola Cantorum, Lyonesse, commissioned by Mount Holyoke College and the Women’s Philharmonic for the Mount Holyoke Symphony Orchestra, Tian Hui Ng, conductor, No Capacity to Consent, for six vocal soloists and chamber ensemble, commissioned by Brian Bartoldus and Third Practice with assistance from New Music USA, Glimmer, Gossamer, Glint, for orchestra, commissioned by the Blue Water Chamber Orchestra, Resurgam, for carillon, commissioned by the Yale Guild of Carillonneurs, and Meadowlark, for marimba and fixed media, composed for Ian David Rosenbaum.

Olson’s music is performed on four continents; it can also be heard on recordings by the Canadian Chamber Choir, percussionist Ian David Rosenbaum, bassoonist Rachael Elliott, soprano Magali Simard-Galdès, oboist Catherine Lee, and Shawn Mativetsky, McGill University professor of tabla and percussion. Her scores are available from the Canadian Music Centre, Galaxy Music, Hal Leonard&’s Mark Foster series, and E.C. Schirmer (O Inexpressible Mystery – forthcoming). Olson holds a doctorate in music composition from the University of Toronto, a Master of Music degree from the Yale School of Music, an Artist Diploma from the Yale Institute of Sacred Music, and a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Calgary. She is an adjunct professor of composition at the Hartt School of Music.

2018 Ensemble-in-Residence: Cuatro Puntos String Quartet

Cuatro Puntos is an ensemble dedicated to intercultural dialogue and universal access through the performance, writing, and teaching of music. Cuatro Puntos has performed extensively throughout the United States as well as in Bolivia, Brazil, England, Germany, the Netherlands, and Afghanistan. Notable festival appearances include the Brighton Festival (England); Late Music Festival (England); Purbeck Arts Festival (England); Bach Festival (Bolivia); National Flute Convention (Washington DC); Chamber Music America Convention (New York City). Notable university residencies and performances include New England Conservatory (Boston); Goldsmith College (London); Institute for Cultural Diplomacy (Germany); SESC Prainha (Brazil); University of Hartford (Connecticut); University of Connecticut; Eastern Connecticut State University; Columbia University (New York City). Notable concert series appearances; Silk Mill (England); Casa de la Cultura (Bolivia); French Cultural Centre (Afghanistan); Seabury Music Institute Series (Connecticut); Advent Library Series (Boston); Connecticut Alliance for Music.  Cuatro Puntos organizes a regular concert series in downtown Hartford and in Glastonbury, and organizes a Hartford educational program titled Chamber Music for Peace.

A four-year collaboration with Afghanistan’s only music school, which included several teaching artist visits to Afghanistan and a one-year teaching tenure by Cuatro Puntos’ executive director, resulted in a collaborative album between Cuatro Puntos and the Afghanistan National Institute of Music titled “The Rosegarden of Light.” The album is released on Toccata Classics, distributed by Naxos, and has received critical acclaim worldwide as well as airplay on major stations such as BBC and NPR. Music from the album has also been used on the score of several films, most recently in The Staging Post. Blackmore Vale Magazine in the UK said “At a time when we are bombarded every day by images of the world in crisis, The Rosegarden of Light is a joyful celebration of musicians who share a fundamental right to express themselves through the universal language of music.”

For more information, please visit www.cuatropuntos.org.

2018 Keynote Speaker: Karen Cook, Ph.D

Dr. Karen M. Cook specializes in medieval and Renaissance music theory and performance. She is currently working on several new critical editions and translations of late medieval theory treatises as well as a monograph exploring the development of rhythmic notation in the fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries. She also maintains active research interests in popular and contemporary music, especially on music and identity in television, film, and video games and on (neo) medievalism in contemporary culture.

She has presented her research at numerous national and international venues, notably the International Congress on Medieval Studies at Kalamazoo, the North American Conference on Video Game Music, and the 2015 conference on Philippe de Vitry. Her recent work has been published in Plainsong & Medieval Music, Early Music, and in Music and Video Games: Studying Play, Routledge Music and Screen Media Series, edited by K.J. Donnelly, William Gibbons, and Neil Lerner; forthcoming work will be published with the Oxford Bibliography series, the Oxford Handbook on Music and Medievalism, and the A-R Online Music Anthology.

In addition, she is an active singer and performer of both early and contemporary music, and is routinely on the faculty and staff of Amherst Early Music, the largest presenter of early music workshops in North America.

In the 2017-18 school year, Dr. Cook is a University of Hartford Humanities Center Fellow.

BA: Music Performance; Religion – Gettysburg College
MM: Music Theory Pedagogy; Musicology – Peabody Conservatory
Ph.D: Musicology; Certificate in Medieval & Renaissance Studies – Duke University