Kevin F. Harris
|Kevin Franz Josef Harris|
|Born||Kevin Francis Joseph Harris
March 19, 1965
Kansas City, Kansas, U.S.
|Home town||Stony Point, New York|
Kevin Francis Joseph Harris (born March 19, 1965) is a composer of classical music from Northern Virginia. He specializes in music of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, not unlike the music of Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven or Schubert. Harris is best known for his Adagio for a Nation in D minor, a piece which he composed shortly after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. In 2007 he began working on a degree in graphic design as well as writing a series of books called The House of Calduros Chronicles.
Harris was born in Kansas City, Kansas. When he was 7 years of age, his parents enrolled him in piano lessons and he continued his studies until he was 11 years old when he expressed an interest in music composition. It was at this time he composed his first piece of music, a short work for piano called Kleine Klavierstück in C Major, WoO 1. He wrote the piece by hand in the exercise pad his teacher had given him for doing music theory exercises. There are some corrections which were made by his teacher, but the work's theme was his own invention.
When he was 12 he began taking an interest in other instruments: percussion and the clarinet. He enrolled in his school's orchestra and played percussion for a short time then moved to the clarinet. Within 2 weeks of taking up the woodwind instrument his teacher was so impressed, he moved Harris into Advanced Band. Harris stopped playing the clarinet a couple years later.
Music Composition Revisited
By the time Harris was 23 he had once again become interested in piano and music composition. It was about this time he met Claude Fazio, an amateur composer who would generously spend time after work and during lunch breaks teaching Harris the basics of music composition. His efforts came to fruition in early 1993 when Harris composed a set of three Klavierstück, followed by his first String Quartet in F Major. In 1994 Fazio moved to Seattle, Washington and left Harris to continue his studies on his own. Over the next two years Harris would teach himself what he needed to know.
Mozart Years, 1994-2000
Harris then began a period of prolific music production. From 1994 until 2000 Harris composed over 50 compositions, ranging from simple piano pieces to chamber works. In 1997 he began to consider writing an opera, but abandoned the idea. The sketches he made for the opera did, however, become parts of other compositions. The overture became the first movement of his Sinfonia in C Major. The opening Aria for the opera became a Concert Aria for Soprano and Orchestra. By 1999 however, Harris began to slow down and in 2000 stopped composing completely.
2001 and beyond
Harris returned to composing in early 2001 and produced a piece for piano, a single movement Quintet for Strings and began working on a Violin Sonata in August 2001. Work on this piece was interrupted when, on September 11, 2001, the World Trade Center and The Pentagon were the targets of terrorist attacks. Harris was emotionally distraught over the events of that day and, on September 12, composed a piece which would be one of his crowning achievements: his Adagio for a Nation in D minor, Op. 24. When this piece was made available on the internet in mid-September it was applauded as a great tribute to all those who lost their lives and to the heroes of that day. Harris then went on to complete his Violin Sonata.
In 2003 he was commissioned to compose a set of works for a wedding, as the bride wished to have something unique rather than the usual pieces you'd hear at a wedding. Harris only had a few weeks to compose the pieces and chose to commit them to memory rather than take the time to write it all down on paper. At the wedding he performed the pieces from memory and they were a big success. He would finally write the pieces in January 2004 and called them Musica del Nozze, Op. 26. He followed them up with one of his most powerful pieces for piano, the Fantasie für Klavier, Op. 27 and the Nachtmusic für Kinder, Op. 28.
In October 2013, Harris launched a new official web site containing every note he has ever composed, including several new works.
On April 29, 2014, Harris released his first album, The Complete Works of Franz Josef Harris, Vol. I : Orchestral Works, on iTunes and Amazon. The composer plans two more album releases over the next 1-2 years.
Harris is a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers - also known as ASCAP, The American Composers Forum and The Society of Composers. He was also the student of American composer Jeffrey Brody from 2002-2004.
Author, Graphic Artist
Harris published three books from 2005 to 2010 which are based on the World of Warcraft universe: Calevan & Thoninas, Dark Resurrection and Futures Past. The fourth and final book in the series is due to come out sometime in 2014. Harris attended the Art Institute of Pittsburgh from late 2007 to early 2012, graduating with a degree in Graphic Design. In June 2012 he launched his freelance design studio, Pixelworx Idea Factory.