Kevin Hartnett is composer of instrumental, vocal, and electro-acoustic music. He has received honors from the American String Teachers Association, the Music Educators National Conference, and the Mizzou New Music Initiative and was a finalist for The American Prize in Composition in 2020. In 2018, his choral work De profundis was recorded by The Zurich Chamber Singers as part of their debut album Passio and was praised by BBC Music Magazine as “a superb centrepiece" of the album.
Kevin’s music has been performed across the United States and around the world by ensembles such as The Zurich Chamber Singers, Kantorei of Kansas City, the Pasadena Chorale, and the Zelter String Quartet. His work has been featured at the Midwest Clinic, the MENC national convention, and the Missouri Music Educators Association conference and has been presented by the Hear Now Music Festival in Los Angeles, the Kansas Ambassadors of Music in Europe, and American Voices in Iraq, Jordan, and Thailand.
Kevin earned a Bachelor of Music in Composition from the USC Thornton School of Music, a Master of Music in Composition from the IU Jacobs School of Music, and has completed additional studies at Bowdoin International Music Festival, Brevard Music Center, and Orford Musique. He is a co-founder and co-director of the performance series Resonant Frequencies, a performing member of the Pasadena Chorale, and composer-in-residence at Renaissance Arts Academy in Los Angeles. His work is published by Just A Theory Press.
“Combining the music of Passiontide with funeral pieces, this disc is rich and meditative. Hartnett’s De profundis is a superb centrepiece.”
—BBC Music Magazine (UK), March 22, 2018
“The motets and chorales of Purcell, Tallis and Bach face the haunting composition De profundis of 27-year-old American Kevin Hartnett. This is music of beguiling beauty, presented in tonal perfection.”
—Frank von Niederhäusern, Kultur-tipp (Switzerland), February 28, 2018
“The almost simple but all the more insistent four-part harmony developed by Hartnett in this work becomes, in the interpretation of the Zurich singers, a sound experience that is as sophisticated as it is transfiguring.”
—Guy Engels, Pizzicato (Luxembourg), April 17, 2018
“De profundis is a commission from the ensemble to the composer born in 1990, and the stringent linearity of the music, the splendor of polyphony, the power of dynamic extremes is impressive.”
—Aachener Zeitung (Germany), March 2018
“Kevin Hartnett's De profundis from the year 2016 does not act as a new music foreign body, which would blow up the dramaturgical arc. On the contrary, the ten-minute choral piece is a perfect link to draw something absolutely timeless from the overall context of all pieces. Deep-seated and highly concentrated, the singers swear by repetitive patterns, let phrases breathe organically and build up excitation curves full of subtle high tension. Erny's refined art of mixing the timbre can once again move the famed mountains—especially when subtle shifts in tonality and harmony produce poignant turning points as well as expanding association with Eastern music cultures.”
—Stefan Pieper, The New Listener (Germany), March 8, 2018
“The program includes three great names in Renaissance and Baroque polyphony: Thomas Tallis, Henry Purcell and Johann Sebastian Bach, complemented by the young American composer Kevin Hartnett. This spans the arc of the mastery of voice leading from the early modern period to the present day.”
“De profundis by Kevin Hartnett is an enchanting piece that fits in well with the structure of the entire album. One feels the emotional devotion of the singers, who reach an almost ethereal mood through small intervals, atmospheric sonorities, medieval reminiscences and significant moments of rest.”
—Izidor Mendas, Feuilleton Scout (Germany), May 25, 2018
“De profundis by contemporary American composer Kevin Hartnett requires a different approach to the Purcell, and here the choir's attention to detail pays off. Full of sustained lines, the work is an intense meditation, but within this sustained texture we can detect a myriad of little details.”
—Robery Hugill, Planet Hugill (UK), April 24, 2018
“This journey through vocal funeral music features, alongside Purcell and Tallis, a work by Kevin Hartnett, the amazing De Profundis (2016), about which Christian Erny recently told us in an interview: ‘De profundis is a drawing of the seven penitential psalms, which appear fragmented through the texture of the work. The movement is constant and the diatonic clusters make this piece more a meditation on these psalms than a formal sequence of the liturgy.'"
—Blanca Gallego, Revista RITMO (Spain), March 2018