The Hartt School is the performing arts conservatory of the University of Hartford in the US state of Connecticut. This release by the centre's new music ensemble, Foot in the Door, is a celebration of the school’s composition department. All of the composers featured on this recording are either Hartt alumni (Shuying Li, Jess Langston Turner), current composition faculty (Gilda Lyons, Ken Steen), recently retired faculty (Robert Carl), or former faculty (Joseph Turrin). The works were explicitly written for and premiered by Foot in the Door under the co-direction of Glen Adsit and Edward Cumming.
Foot in the Door is The Hartt School’s new music ensemble. The music featured on this album was written for – and premiered by – the ensemble, and is the work of Hartt alumni, or current and former faculty members. The pieces owe their inspiration to a TV series, to the mutations of fire, aerosol physics, political resistance, the process of breathing in meditation, and to the beauty of rebirth in the spring. The music is crafted to showcase the virtuosity and stylistic variety of this ensemble.
The Hartt School’s Foot in the Door Ensemble is one of the most renowned collegiate new music groups in the United States. The ensemble has performed at two College Band Directors National Association Conventions (Seattle and Tempe), and was an invited guest ensemble in 2015 at the Dark Music Days Festival in Reykjavík, Iceland. Past composers in residence with the ensemble include Joan Tower, Joseph Schwantner, Bright Sheng, Michael Colgrass, John Corigliano, Chen Yi, Zhou Long, Pei Lu, William Bolcom, Michael Daugherty, Susan Botti, and Daniel Bernard Roumain.
Glen Adsit is the director of bands at The Hartt School, where he conducts the Wind Ensemble, co-conducts the Foot in the Door Ensemble, and teaches graduate conducting. He is also currently serving as the president-elect of the College Band Directors National Association. He was awarded the 2014 Larsen Award for outstanding teaching at the University of Hartford, and the following year was named one of the Top 40 Educators Making a Difference by Music for All. He has directed The Hartt Wind Ensemble in four albums for the Naxos label: Passaggi, Dragon Rhyme, Raw Earth and Heavy Weather.
Edward Cumming is director of orchestral activities at The Hartt School. He was music director of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra for ten years, twice receiving ASCAP awards for adventurous programming. Before arriving at Hartford, he was resident conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, during which time he also led the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra. Cumming has led European orchestras and conducted ensembles throughout the United States. He has been a guest of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra and the Israel Be’er Sheva Sinfonietta, and made his South American debut with the Filarmónica de Bogotá.