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Edward Hart to become dean of the school of the arts

The Lowcountry learned a few days before Christmas that Suzanne Austin, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs of the College of Charleston, wisely appointed Edward B. Hart, Jr. as dean of the school of the arts. He succeeds Dean Valerie Morris, who is retiring this year after leading the school since 1998.

Hart has been a faculty member since 1993. A vibrant element of the C of C, he has played a visible and important role in Charleston’s arts community. He has served as department chair since 2013, providing visionary leadership as well as many administrative and artistic talents.

He has also cultivated and enhanced partnerships with many local arts organizations, including the Charleston Symphony, where he serves on the executive board; the Charleston Jazz Orchestra; the Charleston Men’s Chorus; the Charleston Symphony Orchestra Chorus; and the Charleston Opera Theatre. He previously served on the board of the South Carolina Arts Commission and is a regular guest lecturer for Spoleto Festival USA’s Salon Series.

His works include concerti for violin, piano, string quartet and guitar, various orchestral works, chamber music, solo piano compositions, choral music and art songs. Ensembles that have performed his music include Shanghai Quartet, Kiev Philharmonic, Arpeggione Chamber Orchestra (Austria), Orquesta de Baja California, Philharmonica de Montevideo, Symphony of the Americas, Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Taylor Festival Choir and the Arabella Quartet. He has received many commissions and was named composer in residence of the Charleston Symphony for the 2019-20 season.

In February of 2012, the CSO performed at the original Gaillard Auditorium Hart’s “Under an Indigo Sky,” a three-part concerto for violin and orchestra. Hart had aspired to write this specifically for Yuriy Bekker — an accomplished violinist and concertmaster of the CSO since 2007. “Under an Indigo Sky” is a love letter to Hart’s home state of S.C. and an exclamation point of the best of Carolina culture, bringing the listener through the Midlands, the Coast and the Upstate — all very significant parts of the composer’s own life and incredibly defined parts of the Palmetto State.

From 1994 to 2004, Hart was a cofounder and musical director of The Lowcountry Heritage Society, an arts organization dedicated to the production of new works of art, music and literature about or inspired by the S.C. Lowcountry. During that time, the society commissioned more than 50 new musical works by 13 composers. Additionally, the society produced two modern dance works, a ballet, two literary anthologies, an original play and 14 visual art exhibits.

Hart is a native of Charleston and holds a doctorate from the University of South Carolina, where his primary composition teacher was Gordon “Dick” Goodwin.

When he is not composing music or teaching, one is likely to find the professor outdoors, where he finds much inspiration. Professor Hart and his wife, Beth Webb, have two children, Frances and Edward, and make their home on John’s Island.


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