Walter S. Hartley (1927-2016) began composing at age five and became seriously dedicated to it at sixteen. All his college degrees are from the Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester. He received his Ph.D. in composition there in 1953. Some of his teachers were Burrill Phillips, Thomas Canning, Herbert Elwell, Bernard Rogers, Howard Hanson and Dante Fiorillo.
He was Professor Emeritus of Music Fredonia State University, Fredonia, N.Y. He also taught piano, theory and composition at the National Music Camp (now Interlochen Arts Camp) at Interlochen, Michigan from 1956 to 1964.
His list of acknowledged works is over 200, dating from 1949 on, and most of these are published. He was a member of the American Society for Composers, Authors and Publishers, from which he received an annual award for achievement in serious music since 1962.
His music has been performed by many ensembles, including the National Symphony Orchestra, Oklahoma City Symphony, Eastman-Rochester Orchestra and the Eastman Wind Ensemble. His Chamber Symphony of 1954 was commissioned by the Koussevitsky Foundation, his Concert Overture for orchestra received a prize from the National Symphony Orchestra in 1955, and his Sinfonia No. 3 for brass choir won for him the 1964 Conn Award. Since then he has received many commissions from college and high school musical organizations. A lately published orchestral work, Symphony No. 3, was commissioned by the Greater Buffalo (NY) Youth Orchestra; several band works were commissioned by U.S. service bands. There have been many recordings.