Under an Indigo Sky

Works by Edward Hart

Edward Hart composer

Charleston Symphony Orchestra | Ken Lam conductor
Harlem Quartet
Yuriy Bekker violin

Release Date: March 3, 2023
Catalog #: NV6497
Format: Digital & Physical
21st Century
String Quartet

Edward Hart’s UNDER AN INDIGO SKY features A Charleston Concerto and Under an Indigo Sky, two concertos that celebrate and reflect the history and culture of the Southeastern United States. A native of Charleston SC, Hart finds inspiration in the natural beauty and multicultural heritage of his homeland. A Charleston Concerto was written to commemorate the 350th Anniversary of the City of Charleston; it features a collaboration with the Charleston Symphony and the world-renowned Harlem Quartet. It takes an unflinching yet ultimately hopeful view of the city’s complex history over those three and a half centuries. Under an Indigo Sky for violin and orchestra is a musical love letter written to Hart’s geographical home. It explores both the physical splendor of the mountains and coast, but also the feel and “soul” of these breathtaking places.


Hear the full album on YouTube

Track Listing & Credits

# Title Composer Performer
01 Under an Indigo Sky: I. Fast Flowing Rivers Edward Hart Yuriy Bekker, solo violin; Charleston Symphony Orchestra | Ken Lam, conductor 10:39
02 Under an Indigo Sky: II. Warm Salt Air Edward Hart Yuriy Bekker, solo violin; Charleston Symphony Orchestra | Ken Lam, conductor 16:34
03 Under an Indigo Sky: III. Misty Blue Horizon Edward Hart Yuriy Bekker, solo violin; Charleston Symphony Orchestra | Ken Lam, conductor 9:28
04 A Charleston Concerto [WORLD PREMIERE]: I. Discovery Edward Hart Harlem Quartet | Ilmar Gavilán, Melissa White - violin; Jaime Amador, viola; Felix Umansky, cello; Charleston Symphony Orchestra | Ken Lam, conductor 11:57
05 A Charleston Concerto [WORLD PREMIERE]: II. Tragedy and Reconciliation Edward Hart Harlem Quartet | Ilmar Gavilán, Melissa White - violin; Jaime Amador, viola; Felix Umansky, cello; Charleston Symphony Orchestra | Ken Lam, conductor 12:11
06 A Charleston Concerto [WORLD PREMIERE]: III. Tomorrow Edward Hart Harlem Quartet | Ilmar Gavilán, Melissa White - violin; Jaime Amador, viola; Felix Umansky, cello; Charleston Symphony Orchestra | Ken Lam, conductor 11:27

Under an Indigo Sky
Recorded September 27 & 28, 2019, at the Gaillard Center Performance Hall in Charleston SC
Produced and Edited by Thomas C. Moore
Recorded, Mixed and Mastered by Robert Friedrich

A Charleston Concerto
Recorded April 15 & 16, 2022 at the Gaillard Center Performance Hall in Charleston SC
Recording Produced by Paul Eachus
Post-Production Produced, Edited, Recorded, Mixed and Mastered by Robert Friedrich
Assistant Engineer and Editor Ian Dobie

Recording produced by Five/Four Productions®, LLC

Executive Producer Bob Lord

A&R Director Brandon MacNeil

VP of Production Jan Košulič
Audio Director Lucas Paquette

VP, Design & Marketing Brett Picknell
Art Director Ryan Harrison
Design Edward A. Fleming
Publicity Patrick Niland

Artist Information

Edward Hart


Edward Hart’s music has been performed in the United States, Latin America, Africa, and Europe including performances in New York, Los Angeles, Kiev, Vienna, Mexico City, Buenos Aires, Johannesburg, Boston, and at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. Reviewers have described his music as “mesmerizingly rich,” “clearly visual,” and “an accessible style that clearly communicates to audiences.” His works include concerti for violin, piano, string quartet, guitar, various orchestral works, chamber music, solo piano compositions, choral music, and art songs.

Yuriy Bekker


Yuriy Bekker, critically-acclaimed violinist and conductor, has been a mainstay of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra (CSO) in Charleston SC for 15 years. He has recently been named the CSO’s Artistic Director and also continues to lead as Concertmaster (2007) and Principal Pops Conductor (2016). Bekker previously served as the orchestra’s Acting Artistic Director from 2010-2014, playing a major role in the orchestra’s successful resurgence. 

Harlem Quartet


Harlem Quartet has been praised for its “panache” in The New York Times and hailed in the Cincinnati Enquirer for “bringing a new attitude to classical music, one that is fresh, bracing and intelligent.” It has also won plaudits from such veteran musicians as Jazz at Lincoln Center woodwind virtuoso Ted Nash, who declared in a 2018 Playbill article, “Harlem Quartet is one of the greatest string quartets I have ever heard. They can play anything.” Since its public debut at Carnegie Hall in 2006, the ensemble has thrilled audiences and students throughout the United States as well as the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Brazil, Panama, Canada, Venezuela, Japan, Ethiopia, and South Africa.

The quartet’s mission is to advance diversity in classical music, engaging young and new audiences through the discovery and presentation of varied repertoire that includes works by composers of color. Passion for this work has made the quartet a leading ensemble in both educational and community engagement activities. It began a multi-year residency with London’s Royal College of Music in 2018. From 2015 to 2020 it led an annual workshop at Music Mountain in Falls Village CT. In 2021 it began two other institutional affiliations: as the inaugural Grissom Artist-in-Residence at Centre College in Danville KY, and as Quartet in Residence at Montclair State University in northeastern New Jersey.

Highlights of Harlem Quartet’s 2021-22 season include a concert at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington DC, with pianist Joseph Kalichstein; a collaboration with the Catalyst Quartet at the Chamber Music Society of Detroit; engagements with Carnegie Hall Citywide and the Morgan Library in New York City, as well as chamber music societies in Little Rock, Raleigh, Lewes (DE), and Syracuse; and a partnership with Cuban pianist-composer Aldo López-Gavilán in concerts at the Phoenix Chamber Music Society, the Ensemble Music Society of Indianapolis, Nebraska’s Lincoln Friends of Chamber Music, and Virginia’s Shenandoah Conservatory.

In 2012, Harlem Quartet and the Chicago Sinfonietta led by Music Director Mei-Ann Chen premiered Randall Craig Fleischer’s arrangement for string quartet and orchestra of music from West Side Story, and together they recorded that arrangement for Cedille Records along with works for string quartet and orchestra by Michael Abels and Benjamin Lees. The quartet collaborated with jazz pianist Chick Corea in a GRAMMY-winning Hot House album that included Corea’s “Mozart Goes Dancing,” which won a separate GRAMMY as Best Instrumental Composition. Harlem Quartet’s latest album, the July 2020 release Cross Pollination, features works by Debussy, William Bolcom, Dizzy Gillespie, and Guido López-Gavilán. Harlem Quartet was founded in 2006 by the Sphinx Organization, a national nonprofit dedicated to building diversity in classical music and providing access to music education in underserved communities. It is represented worldwide by New York-based Sciolino Artist Management.


In a way, Under an Indigo Sky is a love letter to my geographical home, the American Southeast. I am continually amazed and thankful for the natural and cultural diversity of this relatively small area. I have attempted to musically capture three distinct types of Southern locales with an eye not only to the landscapes, but to the feel and “soul” of the places.

Movement I – “Fast-Flowing Rivers” – Inland
Rivers are an important part of the Southern interior. They serve as borders, conduits of commerce, and beautiful natural landmarks. At times, especially after heavy rain, these rivers move quickly creating an impressive natural display and an interesting metaphor for the South’s increasingly fast pace of life. At other times, these rivers can flow gracefully and gently through the countryside reflecting the traditionally warm and genteel nature of the people from the South.

Movement II – “Warm Salt Air” –The Coast
The subtropical weather on the Southern coast can sometimes resemble a warm, wet, briny blanket. Though this might seem uncomfortable to some, these qualities in the right measurements can produce a lush and magical atmosphere. Imagine a May sunset overlooking the water with just the right temperature and a sea breeze moving softly through the Palmetto trees.

Movement III – “Misty Blue Horizon” – The Mountains
The Southern Appalachians, which dominate a large portion of the Southern horizon, create an atmosphere of cool, verdant freshness found in no other region of the South. The early morning light offers dramatic vistas filled with broad strokes of blue, green, and purple. This landscape elicits a sense of awe, wonder, and reverent reflection along with a sense of gratitude toward its Creator.

A Charleston Concerto was written to commemorate the 350th Anniversary of the City of Charleston. I am very grateful for this opportunity to collaborate with the Charleston Symphony and the world-renowned Harlem Quartet. In this programmatic three-movement composition, I attempt to musically express Charleston’s autochthonous splendor, the city’s complex history, and its optimistic approach to the future.

Movement I – “Discovery”
In the first movement, I imagine the experience of the first people to gaze upon Charleston Harbor. This group of natives may have been traversing the dense subtropical forest, gradually noticing fleeting gusts of sea breeze and shards of sunlight, only to be awestruck when reaching the water’s edge, revealing the magnificent wind-swept harbor, filling them with a sense of awe and optimism.

Movement II – “Tragedy and Reconciliation”
Old places have complicated, and sometimes tragic, histories. Charleston is no exception. Tragedy has come from natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, and disease. We have also experienced man-made tragedy, including war and especially the enslavement of our fellow man with the subsequent ill treatment of their descendants. I have chosen to represent tragedy with a Gullah Spiritual entitled “Sinnuh W’ah Yuh Doin’ Down Dere.”

To me, reconciliation, both with our natural world and with each other, seems to be more of an ongoing process rather than a one-time act. The process itself is what creates hope. To represent this, I have used the Gullah Spiritual “Silbuh Spade” (Silver Spade). The powerful first line, “You kin dig my grabe wid a silbuh spade, cus I ain’t gwine lib here no more,” is a statement of transcendent resilience, with the certainty of a better future.

A note about Gullah culture: Gullah is a rich culture that developed among the descendants of West Africans brought to America as slaves in the 17th and 18th centuries and found primarily in the coastal regions of South Carolina and Georgia. Among its many important contributions are Gullah Spirituals, a musical genre combining elements of West African performance practice with text from or inspired by Biblical passages. In order to completely reflect Charleston’s multifaceted culture, it would be impossible to ignore this significant and highly original musical tradition.

Movement III – “Tomorrow”
Optimism is a trait we all share in Charleston. It seems to be in our collective DNA. This optimism is the fervent belief that, despite past and present challenges, our best days are ahead. Informed by our history, we forge our future with the heartfelt expectation of a better tomorrow.

— Edward Hart

With appreciation to the following supporters for helping to make this project a reality:

Patricia Ann Abraham
Brady and Betty Anderson
Dr. Bobby and Julie Baker
Jon Baumgarten and Jodi Rush
James L. and Judy E. Chitwood
Anne and Will Cleveland
Jerry H. Evans & Stephen T. Bajjaly
Carol H. Fishman
Jaimie and Bill Flack
Jodie-Beth Galos and Michael Zwerling
Rajan and Suman Govindan
Tracy and Billy Grooms
Cindy and George Hartley
Lee and Ann Higdon
Robert and Catherine Hill
Paul and Becky Hilstad
Andrew Hsu and Rongrong Chen
INDIGO BOOKS from Nat & Linda Malcolm
Ken and Sue Ingram
John and Shea Kuhn
June and Mariano La Via
Elizabeth Rivers Lewine
Valerie Luther
Cynthia S. and James C. Mabry
Lenna Macdonald and Robert Carew
Mrs. Katherine Maybank
Barbara and Michael Moody
Jon Olson and Anne Regan
Donald and Kathleen J. Reid
Sylvia and Bob Reitman
David Savard
Helen and Robert Siedell
Susan W. Sullivan
Gerald and Gretchen Tanenbaum