Walter S. Hartley, February 21, 1927 - June 30, 2016

Works for Saxophone, Brass, Woodwinds, Band and Orchestra, Chamber Groups, Other Instruments and Voice

WALTER S. HARTLEY died June 30, 2016 at the Aldersgate Retirement Community in Charlotte, North Carolina. Dr. Hartley was born February 21, 1927, in Washington, D.C., the son of Walter and Winifred (Sinclair) Hartley. He showed an early aptitude for the piano and dedicated himself to the performance and composition of music in the Western art tradition. He received his Ph.D. in composition from the Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester in 1953. Some of his teachers were Burrill Phillips, Thomas Canning, Herbert Elwell, Bernard Rogers, Howard Hanson and Dante Fiorillo.

He taught piano, theory and composition at the National Music Camp (now Interlochen Arts Camp) at Interlochen, Michigan from 1956 to 1964 and at Davis and Elkins College in Elkins, West Virginia. In 1969 he joined the Music faculty at the Fredonia State University, Fredonia, New York, where he served until retirement.

His list of acknowledged works grew to over 300, dating from 1949 to 2010, and most of these were published. The pieces he wrote for saxophone and low brass significantly expanded the repertoire available to performers on those instruments. His music has been performed by many ensembles, including the National Symphony Orchestra, Oklahoma City Symphony, Eastman-Rochester Orchestra and the Eastman Wind Ensemble. His Chamber Symphony of 1954 was commissioned by the Koussevitsky Foundation, his Concert Overture for orchestra received a prize from the National Symphony Orchestra in 1955, and his Sinfonia No. 3 for brass choir won for him the 1964 Conn Award. He received many commissions from college and high school musical organizations and from U.S. service bands.

He and the former Sandra Mount were married on June 17, 1960. In 2004 they moved to Charlotte to be near their daughter, Carol, and her family. Walter received a warm welcome from the Music Department of the University of North Carolina Charlotte. His association with the department included a year as composer in residence and an opportunity to compose “Sinfonia Caroliniana” for the University’s Wind Ensemble. The chance to work with faculty and students there and to attend skilled and spirited performances of his works gave him great personal and professional satisfaction.

Walter is survived by his wife, Sandra; sister, Dr. Janet Hartley (Torg Frederickson) of Myrtle Beach, SC; daughters Carol Hartley (Thomas Cole) and Lois (Dennis) Urbanek of Fairfax, VA; and grandchildren Matthew, Joseph, and Charles Urbanek and Sarah and Patrick Cole.

Further information about unpublished pieces may be obtained by contacting the composer's family Comments, questions, and updates of information may be addressed to the webmaster