School of Music Visiting Artist
Composer Chris Paul Harman will discuss two very different recent works involving the human voice.
"This Is Not America" (2012), written to commemorate the centenary of John Cage's birth, models the hymn tune "Old North (Morning Hymn)" by the 18th-century American choral composer William Billings, a tune likewise used by Cage in his "Apartment House 1776" (1976). "
...with silver bells and cockle shells..." (2018), a song cycle for soprano and orchestra, supports and subverts conventional expectations of dominant-tonic tonal relationships outlined by the twenty-one children's nursery rhyme songs upon which the work is based.
Noted for his boldly original forms, eerie refashionings of familiar musical material and phantasmagoric orchestration, Chris Paul Harman (b. 1970, Toronto) is one of Canada’s most esteemed composers.
Early recognition came when Mr. Harman was still in his early-twenties, with a series of major orchestra commissions from the CBC Radio Orchestra, the Esprit Orchestra, the National Arts Center Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Harman was a finalist in the CBC Radio National Competition for Young Composers in 1986 when he was only fifteen years old, subsequently garnering the Grand Prize in the same competition in 1990 at the age of nineteen for Iridescence. Although largely self-taught as a composer, Mr. Harman studied classical guitar, cello, and electronic music with Barton Wigg, Alan Stellings, and Wes Wraggett respectively. He later earned a Ph.D. in Composition from the University of Birmingham (2012) while serving as an Assistant Professor (Composition) at McGill University’s Schulich School of Music. Since 2014 he has been an Associate Professor (Composition) at McGill University.