A phenomenal young guitarist, Courtney Hartman is at the forefront of a new generation of acoustic musicians. She has performed in Scotland, Slovakia, Italy, and throughout the U.S.; won numerous guitar flatpicking championships; and is currently studying on scholarship at Berklee College of Music. Matt Glaser, fiddle legend and chair of Berklee's American Roots Music Program called Hartman "an extraordinary bluegrass guitarist and a fluid, inventive improviser . . . one of the finest musicians I have ever had the privilege of working with." Jazz guitar virtuoso Julian Lage says of her, "It has been a true privilege to watch Courtney grow as a player, and I feel that she is one of the great guitarists of our generation. Her greatness is born out of unconditional listening and a commitment to the meaning of the music in every song she plays. She doesn't play anything that isn't rooted in her love for the music."
Hartman began her musical journey at the tender age of 2, when she was taken to her very first bluegrass festival. It wasn't long before she started taking violin lessons. She developed a deep passion for music, and by the time she was ten, she had begun to excel rapidly at violin, piano, and mandolin. In 2001, Hartman was asked to play with the prestigious mandolin orchestra Mandomonium. That same year, she became the youngest person to win the championship division at the Lyons Old-Time Fiddle Contest, and she continued to win competitions around the country on fiddle and mandolin. It was about this time that Hartman found her passion for bluegrass guitar. Her father asked her to teach him "Blackberry Blossom" on the guitar, which she quickly learned on her own. This prompted her to begin transferring other tunes that she had grown up playing on fiddle to the guitar and soon that began to steal away most of her attention. By the time she was twelve, she was writing her own music and performing throughout the U.S. with her siblings in their band, the Hartmans.
Throughout high school, Hartman taught more than 30 private music students and continued performing with the Hartmans. In 2008, they released their first album, Borrowed Time. In the same year, she was asked to join a band of young bluegrass musicians to represent the U.S. at the International Folk Festival in Nitra, Slovakia. She also toured for a time with the up the up-and-coming bluegrass-gospel group Appointed.
Hartman's strong roots in traditional acoustic and bluegrass music gave her a strong foundation to branch out from, and she became very interested in other styles of music, including Celtic, jazz, and international folk music. This led her to Berklee College of Music, where she is currently in her third year. The acoustic music scene in Boston is arguably the best in the country at this time, and Hartman is right at the heart of it, being highly involved in the American Roots Music Program at Berklee. This year, she traveled with a select group of American roots musicians to Glasgow, Scotland, where they performed at Celtic Connections in a collaboration with some of the top traditional Scottish music students. The group, Atlantic Seaway, also performed this summer at Intercelctic Festival in Lorient, France.
Hartman continues to write and perform with a variety of ensembles throughout the country. She recently joined, Della Mae, an all-girl bluegrass quintet out of Boston. She plans to continue her studies at Berklee, expanding her musical horizons, making connections, and taking opportunities there. She has a strong passion for music and for using it to bless those around her. No matter where or with whom she is playing, she will continue to make music with that love.