Robert Hartwell

Dr. Robert Hartwell is a Professor of Music History and Department Chair at Foothill College, where he teaches classes in music history, music of multicultural America, and contemporary American culture. A champion of student-centered curricula, he pioneered Foothill’s innovative coursework in popular culture, which from its inception has been among the College’s most sought after classes. He is also keenly interested in issues of teaching and learning, leading to his involvement in a film project on contemporary teaching practices for Laureate Education, as well as serving on the board of directors for the K. Patricia Cross Academy.

As part of his commitment to welcoming the uninitiated into classical music, Dr. Hartwell has co-authored a three-volume textbook on the history of Western music (Great Composers and Music Masterpieces of Western Civilization, Kendall Hunt, 2015). He was also a contributory author to The Quarterly Journal of the Riemenschneider Bach Institute and the New Pedagogies in Higher Education series. 

Hartwell lectures frequently in the community—mostly recently at the Los Altos Speakers Forum and the Northern California Phi Beta Kappa Society—and is a staff lecturer at the Institute for the Study of Western Civilization.  Before coming to academia, he taught piano privately for 20 years, and was recognized as among the Bay Area’s best by the San Jose Mercury.

Dr. Hartwell has served as Foothill College’s commencement speaker, and is wholly committed to the egalitarian mission of California’s community college system. He holds a B.A. in piano performance from California State University Sonoma, an M.A. in music history from San Francisco State University, and an Ed.D in music education from Columbia University.