Jonty Harrison (born 1952) studied with Bernard Rands, Elisabeth Lutyens and David Blake at the University of York, graduating with a DPhil in Composition in 1980. Between 1976 and 1980 he lived in London, where he worked with Harrison Birtwistle and Dominic Muldowney at the National Theatre, producing the electroacoustic components for many productions, including Tamburlaine the Great, Julius Caesar, Brand and Amadeus, and also taught classes in studio composition at City University. In 1980 he joined the Music Department of the University of Birmingham, where he was Professor of Composition and Electroacoustic Music, Director of the Electroacoustic Music Studios and Director of BEAST (Birmingham ElectroAcoustic Sound Theatre); he is now Emeritus Professor. At Birmingham he taught a number of postgraduate composers from the UK and overseas; many 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 numerous conducting appearances with the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (including in Stockhausen’s Momente in Birmingham, Huddersfield and London), the University New Music Ensemble and the University Orchestra. He was a Board member of Sonic Arts Network (SAN) for many years (and Chair in 1993-96). He was also 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), the Destellos Competition (Argentina), 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: 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); the International Computer Music Association (ICMA); MAFILM/Magyar Rádió (Budapest); Electroacoustic Wales/Bangor University; IRCAM/Ensemble intercontemporain (Paris); KLANG Acousmonium (Montpellier); BBC; Birmingham City Council; Birmingham Contemporary Music Group; Fine Arts Brass Ensemble; Nash Ensemble; Singcircle; Thürmchen Ensemble (Cologne); Compagnie Pierre Deloche Danse (Lyon); Darragh Morgan; John Harle; Beverly Davison; Harry Sparnaay; and Jos Zwaanenburg. Despite renouncing instrumental composition in 1992, he wrote Abstracts for large orchestra and 8-track tape in 1998, Force Fields for 8 instrumentalists and fixed sounds in 2006 for the Thürmchen Ensemble and Some of its Parts for violin and fixed sounds for Darragh Morgan in 2012-14 (piano and percussion versions, together with duo and trio options, are also available).
He has undertaken a number of composition residencies, including in Basel (Switzerland), Ohain (Belgium) and Bangor (Wales, UK), and has been guest composer at numerous international festivals. In 2010 he was Guest Professor of Computer Music at the Technische Universität, Berlin. In 2014 he was Master Artist-in-Residence at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in Florida and a recipient of the Klingler ElectroAcoustic Residency at Bowling Green State University, Ohio in 2015. He is currently a Leverhulme Emeritus Fellow. His music is performed and broadcast worldwide and appears on three solo albums on empreintes DIGITALes, as well on compilations on SAN/NMC, Cultures électroniques/Mnémosyne Musique Média, CDCM/Centaur, Asphodel, Clarinet Classics, FMR, Edition RZ and EMF.
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