I am interested in collaborative work.
My life has been enriched and informed by deep immersion in a wide variety of musical and performance genres. Early classical music piano and theory training at Eastman School of Music’s Community Education program was balanced with performing in popular music groups and specialized training in improvisation and performing from fake books. Performing in bebop and then abstract/free jazz ensembles interleaved with contemporary classical music composition studies and practice at the Faculty of Music in Toronto. Graduate studies at Eastman School of Music in the early 1980s during the rapidly evolving field of computer music provided invaluable opportunities to explore new sonic terrain and compose music using these new resources, to integrate “non-real time” computer-based music (software synthesis and processing) with highly skilled instrumental performers, and to participate in the development of that field. Several years living in the media arts haven of the Bay Area provided rare opportunities to learn, create, and collaborate with artists, instrument developers, and scientists on an international scale. Working in the dance and theatre worlds of the Twin Cities brought several threads of my background together to collaborate on many creative projects and to help develop the local arts infrastructure. Common themes in my work include: • Incorporating free and structured improvisation as well as through-composed compositional techniques into my work; • Pursing my life-long love and facility using the piano and digital keyboard samplers as a core element in my music; • Integrating computer-based music instruments and resources with live performers; • Infusing elements of narrative in my compositions, ranging from the poetic to specific story-based materials; and • Working in my communities to advance resources and support systems that strengthen our collective cultural infrastructure.
Harris is a recipient of the 2016 Right Here Showcase Commission, and he has received grants to support his work from the Hanson Institute for American Music, the McKnight Foundation Next Step Grant, the American Composers Forum/Jerome Foundation Composers Commission Project, Rimon: the MN Jewish Arts Council, and the Howard B. and Ruth F. Brin Jewish Arts Endowment Fund. He has collaborated with many artists and organizations, including Renée Fleming, Kira Obolensky, Stephanie Fleischmann, Judith Brin Ingber, and dance theater companies Ballet of the Dolls, Zorongo Flamenco, Off-Leash Area and Katha Dance Theatre. Harris received his Ph.D. in Composition at the Eastman School of Music.