Harrison was born in La Porte, Indiana, and spent most of her childhood home schooled; but she attended La Porte High School, and graduated. She spent most of her time in Berlin performing recitals and performing with the Berlin Philharmonic. She later returned to U.S.A. and while performing in Chicago received sponsorship to travel back to Europe. During the next several years Harrison continued her studies with Hugo van Dalen in Berlin. She then began performing as a concert pianist both in Europe and the U.S.
In 1931, Harrison accepted a job as the head of the piano department at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. In 1936 she moved to Washington, D.C. and accepted a teaching job at Howard University, where she remained until retirement in 1955. While teaching, Harrison still performed in the U.S.A., and after retirement she accepted positions at Alabama A&M University and Jackson College.
- Reveal, Judith C. (2000). "Harrison, Hazel". Women in World History, Vol. 7: Harr-I. Waterford, CT: Yorkin Publications. pp. 23–24. ISBN 0-7876-4066-2.
- Taylor, Julius F. "The Broad Ax". Illinois Digital Newspaper Collections. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
- Richardson, Deborra A. (1994). "Harrison, Hazel (1883–1969)". Black Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. pp. 540–541. ISBN 0-253-32774-1.
- Cazort, Jean E. and Hobson, Constance Tibbs, Born to Play: The Life and Career of Hazel Harrison, Greenwood Press, 1983 ISBN 0-313-23643-7
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