Dr. James Hartway



Dr. James Hartway

Born in 1944 in Detroit, Michigan, James Hartway began a lifelong study of music with piano lessons at age seven.  In middle school and throughout high school he pursued this avocation with diligence by forming his own jazz quartet, learning to play percussion, and amassing a substantial collection of both classical scores and jazz recordings.  During college this dedicated avocation turned into a serious vocation.  Hartway earned Bachelor of Arts and Master of Music degrees from Wayne State University, and a Ph.D. in music from Michigan State University.  His principal composition teachers have been H. Owen Reed and Ruth Shaw Wylie.

As a professional composer, Dr. Hartway has received more than sixty commissions from major musical organizations and educational institutions; and, has composed nearly one hundred symphonic and chamber works. He has been asked to create pieces for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the American Artist Series, the Meadow Brook Music Festival, the American Guild of Organists, the Michigan Opera Theater, the Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit for the Papal visit of John Paul II to the United States, the Scarab Club, Printemps Musicale des Alizés of Morocco, the Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings, the Verdher Trio, the Woodland Trio, and various other chamber music groups and eminent soloists; and, he has served as composer-in-residence for the Chamber Music Conference and Composers Forum of the East in Bennington, Vermont and has been a featured composer for both the Gilmore Foundation and the MCACA’s educational projects.   He has also lectured about the creative process in music and discussed his personal creative work at colleges, universities and in pre-concert talks throughout the United States and at international venues. Professor Hartway has often presented concert/lectures with the MCACA funded Fusion Project in Michigan public schools.

Although the Detroit tri-county and Cultural Center area has provided many important performance outlets, Hartway's original compositions have been recorded, choreographed, and performed at major concert halls throughout the United States, Canada, South America, Europe, Scandinavia, Japan, China, and Africa. He has had well over 1000 performances and broadcasts of his music worldwide.   Maestri Lukas Foss, Sixten Ehrling, Kenneth Jean, Calvin Simmons, Damien Iroio, Michael Krajewski, David Daniels, Kypros Markou, Charles Burke and many others have conducted his symphonic works.  He was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in music for his concerto for jazz quartet and orchestra “Cityscapes.” He is the proud recipient of an Arts Foundation of Michigan Award and has received a Resolution of Tribute from the Michigan Senate.  He has been an annual winner of the ASCAP Standard Panel Award for his compositions since 1978, and has been named the Detroit Music Awards “Outstanding Classical Composer” four times. His “Affair of the Harp” CD was the Detroit Music Awards “Outstanding Classical Recording” for 2005. His most recent recordings have been released internationally in 2007 for the Naxos “American Classics” series, on Crystal Records, and on the Bayer label.   His music appears on thirteen different CD collections.  Hartway is often influenced in his writing by local surroundings and conditions.  His “City Sketches” and “Cityscapes,” “And Then There Were None,” depict Detroit locations and conditions as does his “Detours,” "Urban Pictures,"  and "Dream Cruise - a City Re-Imagined."Hartway’s current symphonic and chamber music works are “statement pieces” that are environmentally inspired.  The multi-media work “Echoes from a Disappearing Planet” (2008) for symphonic wind ensemble, video, voice-overs and sound effects, and “ of birds, bears, and butterflies,” (2009) were featured on the Forum on Contemporary Issues in Society “Sounds of the Earth” program in April of 2009 in Detroit.  He recently finished his fifth concerto, this for jazz quintet and symphony orchestra as part of the Detroit/Torino International Jazz Project.  This work had its world premier in Torino, Italy in May of 2011 and was subsequently performed by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in 2012.. 

Dr. James Hartway holds the title of Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Wayne State University where he was the Director of its Division of Music Composition and Theory from 1974 until the fall of 2011.  In 1992 he received the university’s highest honor when he was elected to a lifetime membership in its Academy of Scholars and is a past president of that organization. In 2008 he was the featured subject of Emery King’s television documentary series “World Class Detroiters.” Professor Hartway was named and is the first recipient of the “Murray E. Jackson University Creative Scholar in the Arts” at Wayne State University for the 2011-2012 academic year. Professor Hartway retired from university teaching in 2012 in order to compose and perform full time.  He and his wife, harpist Kerstin Allvin have subsequently moved to Colfax California where both are continuing their active music careers..



© 2011 Dr. James Hartway. All Rights Reserved.