Jonty Harrison

Jonty Harrison studied with Bernard Rands at the University of York, graduating with a DPhil in Composition in 1980. Between 1976 and 1980 he lived in London, working at the National Theatre (where he produced the tape components for many productions, including Tamburlaine the Great, Julius Caesar, Brand and Amadeus) and City University. In 1980 he joined the Music Department of The University of Birmingham, where he is now Professor of Composition and Electroacoustic Music, as well as Director of the Electroacoustic Music Studios and BEAST (Birmingham ElectroAcoustic Sound Theatre). At The University of Birmingham he has taught a number of postgraduate composers from the UK and overseas, many of whom are now themselves leading figures in the composition and teaching of electroacoustic music in many parts of the world. For ten years he was Artistic Director of the department’s annual Barber Festival of Contemporary Music and he has made conducting appearances with the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (most notably conducting Stockhausen’s Momente in Birmingham, Huddersfield and London), the University New Music Ensemble and the University Orchestra (most recently in Stravinsky’s Le sacre du printemps and Vic Hoyland’s Vixen). He was a Board member of Sonic Arts Network (SAN) for many years (and Chair in 1993-96). He has also been on the Council and Executive Committee of the Society for the Promotion of New Music and was a member of the Music Advisory Panel of The Arts Council of Great Britain.

As a composer he has received several Prizes and Mentions in the Bourges International Electroacoustic Music Awards (including a Euphonie d’or for Klang in 1992 cited as “one of the most significant works” in the Bourges competition’s history), two Distinctions and two Mentions in the Prix Ars Electronica (Linz, Austria), First Prize in the Musica Nova competition (Prague), a Lloyds Bank National Composers’ Award, a PRS Prize for Electroacoustic Composition, an Arts Council Composition Bursary and research grants from the Leverhulme Trust and from the Arts and Humanities Research Board/Council.

Commissions have come from many leading performers and studios — including two each from the Groupe de recherches musicales (Ina-GRM, Paris) and the Institut international de musique électroacoustique de Bourges (IMEB — formerly the Groupe de musique expérimentale de Bourges) — such as the International Computer Music Association (ICMA), MAFILM/Magyar Rádió (Budapest), Electroacoustic Wales/Bangor University, IRCAM/Ensemble intercontemporain (Paris), BBC, Birmingham City Council, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Fine Arts Brass Ensemble, Nash Ensemble,Singcircle, Thürmchen Ensemble (Cologne), Compagnie Pierre Deloche Danse (Lyon), John Harle, Beverly Davison, Harry Sparnaay, and Jos Zwaanenburg. Despite renouncing instrumental composition in 1992, he wrote Abstracts (1998) for large orchestra and 8-track tape, and a piece for the Thürmchen Ensemble, Force Fields (2006) for 8 instrumentalists, and fixed sounds.

He has undertaken a number of composition residencies, most recently in Basel (Switzerland), Ohain (Belgium) and Bangor (Wales, UK), and has been guest composer at numerous international festivals. His music is performed and broadcast worldwide. Several works are available on empreintes DIGITALes, SAN/NMC, Cultures électroniques/Mnémosyne Musique Média, CDCM/Centaur, Asphodel, Clarinet Classics, and EMF.

Works presented

United Kingdom