Michael Harrison (musician)

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For other people named Michael Harrison, see Michael Harrison (disambiguation).

Michael Harrison is an American composer and pianist, influenced by both Western classical and North Indian classical music (Hindustani classical music).

Harrison studied composition and piano at the University of Oregon and the Juilliard School in the late 1970s and 1980s, and began investigating alternative tunings while studying with La Monte Young, and Indian classical music with Pandit Pran Nath in this same period (Wise 2005). In 1986, he designed and created the “harmonic piano,” an extensively modified seven-foot grand piano with the ability to alternate between two different tunings to play 24 notes per octave on a conventional keyboard.[citation needed] For the past 30 years, Harrison has performed his own music throughout the United States and Europe.

His own major works include From Ancient Worlds and Revelation, both for piano in extended just intonation tunings, and Just Ancient Loops for multi-track cello.


  • 2012 Time Loops with cellist Maya Beiser (Cantaloupe Music 21086)
  • 2007 REVELATION: Music in Pure Intonation (Cantaloupe Music 21043)
  • 1992 From Ancient Worlds (New Albion Records 042)
  • 1987 In Flight (Fortuna Records 17042-2)

Other compositions[edit]

  • Tessellations: Chamber orchestra, countertenor, tenor, tabla and tanpura, 2014
  • Orchestral Modules: Chamber orchestra, 2014
  • Piano Modules: Duo piano, 2014
  • Harmonic Studies in Just Intonation: Electronic composition, 2014
  • Hijaz Prelude (two versions): Cello and guitar, 2014; Cello and piano, 2014
  • Revelation Remix: Electronics with retuned and prepared piano, 2013
  • Hijaz: version for SATB chorus, solo cello, piano, tabla & percussion, 2013
  • Chant: String quartet, 2012
  • Just Ancient Loops: Multi-track cello with film by Bill Morrison, 2012
  • Jaunpuri: Cello, piano and tabla (optional), 2012
  • Piano Modules: Piano, 2012
  • Hijaz: Youth or women's choir, solo cello, piano, tabla & percussion, 2011
  • Raga Prelude No. 2: Piano with cello, violin, or viola, 2010
  • Raga Prelude No. 1: Piano with cello, violin, or viola, 2009
  • Tone Clouds: Piano ("Revelation" tuning) and string quartet, 2009
  • REVELATION: Music in Pure Intonation: Piano ("Revelation" tuning), 2007
  • Wedding Song: Voice and piano, 2004
  • Blue Camel: Piano, 1999
  • For My Father: Flute, violin, cello and piano, 1994
  • Song of the Rose: Cello and piano, 1993
  • From Ancient Worlds: Just intonation piano, 1992
  • Birds of Paradise: Jazz ensemble, 1990
  • 1001 Nights: Jazz ensemble, 1990
  • Symphonic Cortege: Full orchestra, 1987–88
  • African Child: world music ensemble, 1988
  • Tactus: Flugelhorn, Piano and percussion, 1984–85
  • The Swan Has Flown to the Mountain Lake: Flute, harp and cello, 1984
  • Ecstatic poems of Rumi: Soprano and piano, 1983–84
  • For Oboe: Oboe, 1983
  • Reminiscent Dances: String Orchestra, 1982
  • Choral Work No. 1: Five singers (SAATB), 1981
  • Choral Work No. 2: Five singers (SAATB), 1981
  • Crystal Kyrie: 2 sopranos, 13 crystal goblets in pure intonation, 1979
  • Zikr: SATB Choir with soprano soloist, 1979
  • Atlantis: Flute, clarinet, piano and tabla, 1979
  • Call of the Beloved: Soprano, flute, harp and piano, 1979
  • Dance of the Sorcerers: Flute, cello, piano, tabla & tamboura, 1977–78
  • Sonnet XVIII: Alto and piano, 1977

See also[edit]


Further reading[edit]

  • Gann, Kyle. 1990. "Shifting the Scales (Michael Harrison, Bernadette Speach, Alvin Singelton, Louise Talma)". Village Voice 35, no. 10 (March 6): 88.
  • Gann, Kyle. 1991. "Tune Up and Drop Out (American Festival of Microtonal Music: Michael Harrison, Wyschnegradsky, Sharp, Ives, Bach)". Village Voice 36, no. 27 (July 2): 86.
  • Griffiths, Paul. 2001. "In Performance: Classical Music; Whitman's Sampler by Four Innovators". New York Times (October 21)
  • Wise, Brian. 2005. "A Music Man Who Restores Pianos". New York Times ( June 12).

External links[edit]