Cellist Rebecca Hartka has concertized for over a decade in venues throughout the United States with international appearances in Cuba, Italy, Vietnam and Thailand. Committed to authentic and powerful performance that builds bridges, Hartka's playing was described by the Hanoi Times as "... magical and eloquent."
Hartka collaborates primarily with pianist Barbara Lysakowski in Duo Déjà vu and with guitarist Jose Lezcano. She recorded with both partners on the 2017 recording Colors Couleurs Colores Cores (Becsta records) that "displays a high degree of heart and total control" (Michael Johnson). D. Moore of American Record Guide stated that "Hartka and Lezcano play off against each other in a subtle but effective unity of rubato relationships that brings off the sonatas with a personality that catches the ears and holds them". In 2017 Hartka travelled to Havana, Cuba with Lezcano where she performed and gave master classes as a guest artist at the Cello Festival of Havana. She also donated instruments and supplies to young musicians. Other recent concert appearances were at Saugerties Pro Musica; the Frederick Historical Piano Collection Concert Series; Bass Hall Concerts; Columbia Universities St Lukes Concert Series; the 1794 Meeting House Concert Series; the French Cultural Center of Boston; the Dweck Center, among others.
In 2014 Hartka released her second CD Light & Shadow: Sonatas of Rachmaninov and Poulenc with pianist Alys Terrien-Queen. According to the Boston Musical Intelligencer they " take this rich Russian music to new heights", stating that their performance "ranks comfortably alongside several impressive readings by other major cellists." Hartka released her debut CD Folkfire with pianist Azusa Komiyama in October 2010, receiving critical acclaim as well as radio play on both WFCR and WAMC Performance Place. The Daily Hampshire Gazette remarked of the CD that Hartka "emotes a passion worthy of a symphony orchestra" while the Greenfield Recorder praised her for having "a passion for precision that never imposes itself upon the music". Hartka was the recipient of the 1993 Henriette Reiss Award for Outstanding Artistic Merit.
Hartka founded and toured with a number of chamber ensembles including the Reve d'Amour Ensemble; the Wistaria Quartet; Trio Lumiere and the Phoenix Trio. Other notable collaborations have been with soprano Maria Ferrente, violist Michelle Lacourse, violinist Colleen Jennings and the Slapin-Solomon viola duo, and with clarinetist Julianne Kirk Doyle and the Eastman Trianna. In 2007 she explored Baroque cello with violinist Carrie Krause of Apollo's Fire, and was a guest artist in a concert tour with the Meritage Quartet across Montana in 2007. She founded and acted as artistic director of the Valley Classics Concert series from 2011-2013, receiving critical acclaim for her unique programming, set in the casual atmosphere of the Arts Block in Greenfield, MA. Hartka has been a guest musician for numerous large and small ensembles including the Springfield Symphony and the Berkshire Choral Society, among others. From 2007-2009 she was the assistant principal for the Bozeman Symphony and the Intermountain Opera Company.
Hartka is on the faculty of Keene State College in Keene, NH and the All Newton Music School in Newton, MA. Hartka has been an educator for twenty years, facilitating technical excellence, individual expression and depth of musical knowledge in her students. Hartka completed a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Cello performance at Boston University College of Fine Arts (BU CFA) in May 2007, as a four-year recipient of the Deans Scholar Award, and an elected member of Phi Kappa Lambda, the National Music Honors Society. Hartka completed a Masters in Music at BU CFA, and a Bachelor of Arts in Cello Performance at the Oberlin Conservatory and College. Hartka's teachers have included Leslie Parnas, Michael Reynolds, Rhonda Rider, Clive Greensmith, Andor Toth, Peter Rejto, Douglas Moore and Justin Kagan.