Alumnus conducts own composition in former middle school

‘Love of Romantic classical music’ inspired symphony


In a performance of a composition worthy of a Saturday evening at Lincoln Center, composer Brad Hartman of the Bay Area Friends of Fine Arts (BAFFA) and Sayville alumnus debuted his Symphony No. 2 in C Minor at Sayville Middle School earlier this month.

The sweeping epic comprising four movements has all the dramatic flair and quiet moments of a Baroque opera that would be at home with hundreds in a battle scene and horses on stage as well as longing maidens in gentle repose locked up in their bedchambers.

“I arrived at the following four words: virtue, peace, joy, and elation,” said Hartman. “This symphony takes the listener through a remarkable journey filled with emotions.”

The dynamism of the opening notes could usher in planes landing on stage and the accompanying percussion harkens the arrival of an archangel.

Clearly there are movements in the composition that are between lovers as violins create rapid tangos as well as dazzling debutante ball backdrops.

In introducing the composer, BAFFA president Donna Smosky said, “Our concert today is a very, very special one… you are going to see and hear a dream come true… that started about 26 years ago and it is a dream that has a connection to this very building. It is a dream that belonged to a young boy from Sayville who loved music… [and] wanted to become a composer when he grew up. He even wrote that in his fifth-grade yearbook.”

Hartman learned to play over 15 different instruments, with three he is able to play professionally.

While a student in Sayville, Hartman enrolled in every music class offered and was eventually selected to be both in the All-State band and the All-State chorus.

Eventually, Hartman earned his bachelor’s degree and multiple master’s degrees in different areas of music and is now working on his doctorate.

“At all levels, his professors recognized his genius and encouraged him in every way. While in college, he started to be commissioned to write music for a wide range of places. His music began to be heard and played across the nation.  He has started to become famous in the music world, but he has never forgotten his roots in Sayville, which had given him so much. He wanted to give back. He certainly has done that,” said Smosky.

“When Brad first approached the board with the idea of BAFFA performing the premiere of his second symphony, the response was a resounding yes,” said Andrea Edwards, member BAFFA orchestra.

“It is not common for a community orchestra to have the opportunity to be a part of this kind of event,  especially one where the conductor is also the composer. As a member of the orchestra, I think I am speaking on behalf of everyone in it that the experience of working with the composer to bring this symphony to life has been one we will never forget.”

Hartman said that Symphony No. 2 in C Minor was written and dedicated “to the members of the BAFFA symphony orchestra” and that while his love for Romantic, classical music was the original muse, it “quickly became an homage to my feelings about becoming the interim music director in September 2022 and later music director in January 2023. 


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