Dr. James Hartway

Career Highlights

Career Highlights (chronological order) 

Early in 1982 the Detroit Symphony Orchestra premiered Hartway's concerto for jazz quartet and orchestra Cityscapes , with the composer at the piano.  The work has had many subsequent performances, and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.  Kenneth Jean conducted.


Monuments, commissioned by the Meadow Brook Music Festival for its 20th Anniversary, was introduced by Sixten Ehrling and the Detroit Symphony.


Fanfare and Hymn  specially commissioned to help celebrate the Papal Mass and visit of John Paul II to the United States was given its world premier at the Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan by a 1200 voice choir and orchestra and was nationally televised.


The one act opera Ke-Nu and the Magic Coals  written for the Michigan Opera Theater was first performed and toured Michigan in 1987, it was then restaged for a three week run at the Hilberry Theater in Detroit.


The piano trio City Sketches  was commissioned and premiered by the Great Lakes Trio in 1988 and has been performed by several trios throughout the United States and Japan.


Detours  for flute and harp premiered in Japan and China with the Larson/Allvin Duo.  A compact disc recording, a Carnegie Hall performance, and a European and Scandinavian tour of Detours  all occurred in 1990.


Songs for Ronnie  also had New York performances and a European tour.


The Grant Park Symphony gave the premier performance of Hartway's Freedom Festival  July of 1991 in Chicago.  Ten subsequent performances by the Warren, Flint, and Saginaw Symphonies have since taken place.


Six of Hartway's chamber pieces were recorded and released on the compact disc City Sketches.  His music is included on twelve other CDs.


In 1994 both Three Myths for Piano and Echoes from the Lord's Valley received their premiers.


Hartway has received Creative Artist Grants from the Michigan Council for the Arts and the Detroit Council for the Arts and a WSU Board of Governor's Recognition Award.


In 1995 Dr. Hartway was chosen as the Michigan Music Teacher's Association Commissioned Composer.

Also in 1995 Dr. Hartway was chosen as the Michigan Music Teacher's Association Commissioned Composer. He has won research, international travel grants; and, a Humanities Center Fellowship from WSU to compose the orchestra piece Star Dancer for the dedication of the University's new arts complex. 


Hartway was selected as a Charles Gershenson Distinguished Faculty Fellow for 1996 and 1997.


The '96-'97 concert season saw the premier performances of four new works including Hodie Christus Natus Est  for soprano, chorus, strings, harp, and organ commissioned by the Archdiocese of Detroit for its Christmas celebrations, and Message from Garcia  which was first performed at the Carnegie Center for the Arts in Three Rivers Michigan by the Allvin/Delury Duo. 

In 1999, 2004 and 2005 he was named Outstanding Classical Composer at the Detroit Music Awards Ceremony.  

The Last Blackbirds for bass voice and piano was premiered in 2001, and in the spring of 2002, the world premier of the harp trio Images of Mogador took place in Essaouira, Morocco.


During the 2002-03 season, the premier of Processional for brass quintet and organ was written and performed to celebrate the renovation of the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament; and, A Living Land was premiered for the opening of the Center for Citizenship at WSU.


Five Postcards from Michigan was commissioned and premiered by the Verdehr Trio and included in their concert repertoire during the 2002-2003 season.  This piece has since been recorded by the trio and is available on Crystal Records and released in spring of 2007.  Portrait of a Man was premiered by the Detroit Chamber winds in 2004; and, Island Dances, a concerto for two harps and orchestra, was given its first performance by the Warren Symphony in 2005.


In 2004 An Affair of the Harp CD was released that featured harpist Kerstin Allvin performing all of Hartway’s chamber and solo pieces for harp.   The CD was named the Detroit Music Awards “Outstanding Classical Recording” for 2005.


The Naxos American Classics CD “Imaginary Creatures” devoted exclusively to four of Professor Hartway’s chamber works was released in December of 2007.


Hartway received two commissions for original music in 2007. The first “Echoes from a Disappearing Planet” for symphonic wind ensemble and multi-media was requested by Professor Douglas Bianchi for the WSU Symphonic Wind Ensemble. This work had its premiere in April of 2008. The second, for viola, percussion and harp, “. . .of birds, bears and butterflies” commissioned by violist Laura Roelofs was premiered in 2009.


“Urban Pictures” a concerto for jazz quintet and symphony orchestra was commissioned by saxophonist Christopher Collins and was premiered in Torino, Italy in the spring of 2011 by the Filarmonia 900 orchestra of the Teatro Regio. Chris Collins and Emanuele Cisi were the soloists and Maestro Damian Iorio conducted. The string quartet “Dream Cruise – a City Re imagined” was written for Detroit Symphony Orchestra violinist Marian Tanau and his Fusion Project to introduce classical music performance and lecture into area school systems. It will premiere in March of 2012 on Hartway’s “To Detroit with Love” concert at Wayne State University.


Hartway was chosen as the first recipient of the Murray E. Jackson University Creative Scholar in the Arts for the academic year 2011-2012. During this time period he has been recording the “Urban Pictures” concerto, composing, and giving guest lectures on the creative process in music. 



Professor Hartway is involved in a variety of professional activities that include guest appearances with symphony orchestras, composing music for film and television commercials, artist residencies, and a jazz history television series.  He has been music component coordinator for the Michigan Department of Education's Summer Institute for Gifted and Talented, and co-founded and is consultant to the Wayne State University Music Department's Jazz and Contemporary Media Program, and Electronic Music Studio.  Former chair of the Michigan Council for the Arts Music Advisory Panel, Hartway has also been a project director for the Young Audiences national program.  


He received both the Young Musicians Foundation of Los Angeles Composition Award and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra's American Music Competition Award for his Seven Ways of Looking at a Blackbird .


© 2011 Dr. James Hartway. All Rights Reserved.