Courtesy of The University of Hartford Archives
He was born Morris Perlmutter in the North End of Hartford. As a boy he sang in local synagogues, sold fruit on street corners and played piano for silent movies. He attracted the attention of one Julius Hartt, a local musical figure who, among other things, was the music critic for the Courant's main rival, The Hartford Daily Times. Hartt took young Moshe under his wing and saw to it that he received solid musical training. In 1920, Paranov and Hartt, together with a few friends, founded a tiny music school in a private home on Collins Street. By and by, this became the Hartt College of Music, which later occupied a graceful, turreted stone building on Broad Street. (Now gone, alas.) "Uncle Moshe" became the director of the school, assembling a world-class faculty that included, at any given time, New York-based eminences who would travel to Hartford for salaries that Moshe himself conceded were "laughable." In 1957 the school became one of the three founding institutions of the University of Hartford. Today the school that Paranov started on a shoestring almost a century ago (now called simply The Hartt School) boasts 750 students from all over the country and abroad. With programs in dance and theater as well as music, Hartt presents more than 400 performances a year. Moshe Paranov died in 1994, weeks shy of his 99th birthday.