Close your eyes, and imagine a stage with a spotlight shining on a lone violin player. All at once, you come to the realization that the sweet singing of the violin is doing more than sending melodic waves to the audience, it is telling a story.
Purchase senior Conservatory of Music student Edward W. Hardy plays and composes pieces with an adept skill that great composers and musicians would be jealous of, but he is also passionate about theatre.
When Hardy was seven-years-old, he was involved in, as he put it, “a million different things” including chess, science and mathematics. He was even competing in chess tournaments. But his school said that he had to choose one activity. “I kind of just pointed in the direction that everyone had an instrument, and everyone only played violin,” said Hardy.
“That’s what I wanted to do and I just kind of stuck with it,” he said.
He didn’t simply want to play the violin because the sound drew him in, or he favored an artist. It was as if he intuitively knew that he wanted to play the instrument. “I don’t know,” Hardy said while laughing, “it just happened.”
At Purchase, Hardy studies viola. Within the conservatory, he does chamber music and is a part of the orchestra. He also has viola recitals both on and off campus.
“For violin,” said Hardy, “I ventured into the theatre conservatory.”
His first show was in Chekhov’s Three Sisters. “It wasn’t a supporting role,” he said. “But basically, I had a line, I had a costume, and I mainly played violin throughout it.”
Hardy was given blocking, but he was primarily a Russian soldier who played violin. “That’s where I found a love for doing theatre,” said Hardy.
This experience kindled a fire to keep a liaison of his violin work within productions. His next show was with Purchase’s Conservatory of Theatre Arts Junior Company in Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage. He continued to work with the Junior Company, and “I kept on doing it until now,” he said.
In the future, Hardy would like to continue working in theatre, or maybe cross over into doing work with films — whether that be film scoring, or working as a member of an orchestra. He has also considered Broadway work.
Hardy recently collaborated with Strangemen & Co. in their work The Woodsman, which he hopes will make it to Broadway one day. “That would be my full-time job,” he joked. He composed the violin orchestration for the production.
Hardy is even looking at branching out into the country music genre. One of his professors has labeled it the “new pop music.” He has seen the rise of this genre and feels that he should have a grasp on it to expand his opportunities.
In the end, “I just want to be able to compose as much as possible,” said Hardy, “and perform my compositions.”