The works of Edward Hart ’88, music professor and department chair, have been performed all over the world. As such, it only makes sense that the Charleston native be named composer-in-residence for the Charleston Symphony Orchestra’s 2019–20 season – a season that will celebrate the city’s 350th anniversary.
“This wonderful honor is made even more special because I am allowed and encouraged to present music about my home,” says Hart, whose original compositions bookend the current season of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra (CSO). The September event, Mozart in the Low Country, paired Mozart’s Symphony No. 39 with Hart’s violin concerto, Under the Indigo Sky, which premiered to a sold-out crowd in 2012 and remains one of CSO’s most popular pieces. Yuriy Bekker, adjunct music professor, reprised his role as violinist for Hart’s “love letter to the state of South Carolina.”
“Under an Indigo Sky is a three-movement programmatic work seeking to capture three distinct yet related regions of our state: the Lowcountry, the Midlands and the Upstate,” says Hart. “It was written for my great friend and featured soloist, Yuriy Bekker.”
The spring finale, Charleston and the New World, on April 17–18, celebrates Charleston’s 350th anniversary by examining the city’s place in the world and its unique music contributions. Dvořák’s New World Symphony and Edmund Thorton Jenkins’ Charlestonia will be featured along with the world premier of Hart’s A Charleston Concerto, which expertly weaves in traditional Gullah music.
“The newly written A Charleston Concerto attempts to express musically Charleston’s original natural splendor, its complex history and its optimistic approach to the future,” explains Hart. “In this work, I replace the traditional single soloist with a string quartet, and not just any quartet, but the celebrated Shanghai Quartet. A world-class orchestra coupled with a world-renowned string quartet, conducted by acclaimed music director Ken Lam – a composer couldn’t ask for more.”
Nor could fans of classical music.
Featured image of Edward Hart by Heather Moran