Chris Paul Harman

Chris Paul Harman. Composer, born Toronto 19 Nov 1970. In Toronto, Chris Paul Harman studied classical guitar with Barton Wigg, cello with Alan Stellings, and electroacoustic music with Wes Wraggett.

Chris Paul Harman

Chris Paul Harman. Composer, born Toronto 19 Nov 1970. In Toronto, Chris Paul Harman studied classical guitar with Barton Wigg, cello with Alan Stellings, and electroacoustic music with Wes Wraggett. Harman is a self-taught composer, which is quite unusual for such an active member of the composition community. As a teen, he was a finalist and a grand prize winner in the CBC National Radio Competition for Young Composers (1986 and 1990 respectively), and in 1994 and 2004 his Concerto for Oboe and Strings received an official recommendation from UNESCO's International Music Council. In 2001 and 2007, Harman was awarded the Canada Council's Jules-Léger Prize for new chamber music.

Known for his innovative and intricate orchestral works, Harman has developed a distinctive style marked by its use of percussion and a quest for timbral colours and rhythmic energy based on syncopation and riffs, often making reference to popular or non-western musical worlds. As much by the diversity of the material as by the variety of his treatment, this richness and heterogeneity are also reminiscent of the late works of the Hungarian composer György Ligeti, and sometimes recall the eclectic universe of the American composer Charles E. Ives.

Harman's works have been played regularly by ensembles and orchestras in Canada, Europe, and Asia, and in particular by the Asko Ensemble, the CBC Radio Orchestra, the Esprit Orchestra, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, New Music Concerts, the Noordhollands Philharmonisch, the St. Lawrence String Quartet, the Toronto Symphony and the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra.

He has also received commissions from numerous soloists, ensembles and orchestras, including guitarists William Beauvais and Sylvie Proulx, violinist Jacques Israelievitch, and oboist Lawrence Cherney; the Sabat-Clarke Duo, Continuum, the Esprit Orchestra, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Winnipeg Symphony; and such organizations as the Société de musique contemporaine du Québec (SMCQ), the Guelph Spring Festival, the Standing Wave Ensemble, Soundstreams Canada, and the CBC. Many of his works have been recorded on the Centrediscs (Canadian Music Centre) and CBC labels.

Harman joined the composition faculty at McGill University's Schulich School of Music in 2005. Beginning in 2009, he was a member of the SMCQ's artistic committee.

Selected Compositions

Critical Bands. 1992. Percussion

Globus hystericus. 1992. Piano

Irisation. 1992. 24 strings

The Swan that Died in Darkness. 1992. Guitar

Concerto. 1993. Oboe, string orchestra

Theme and Variations. 1993. 8 players

Adagio. 1994. String quartet

Let Me Die Before I Wake. 1994. Orchestra

Incidents in Transition. 1995. Flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, 2 percussion

Partita for Solo Violin. 1995 (revised 1998-2001)

C Section. 1996. Violin, small orchestra (flute, clarinet, oboe, French horn, bassoon, strings)

The Dawn of Each New Day Brings Us Each a Little Closer to Our Inevitable Demise. 1996. Large orchestra

From the Cradle to the Grave. 1997. 16 strings

String Quartet No. 2. 1997

Axle. 1998. Small orchestra

Five Japanese Children's Songs. 1998. Soprano, piano

Flicker. 1998. Orchestra

Procession burlesque. 1998. 10 players

Verve. 1998. Marimba, reverberation

Midnight with the Stars and You. 1999-2000. Violin, piano, tape

Uta (concerto). 1999-2000. Viola, orchestra

Catacombs (concerto). 1999-2000. Flute, orchestra

Amerika. 2001. Small orchestra (14 players)

Assemblage. 2001. Flute, piano

Projection. 2001. 3 violins, 2 violas, 2 celli, double-bass, piano

Three Pieces for Two Violins. 2001-02

Incipits. 2002. Flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, percussion

Mabushii sora e - Toward a Brilliant Sky (concerto). 2002-03. Piano, toy piano, orchestra

Kansha - Gratitude. 2004. 2 flutes (piccolo, alto flute), oboe, clarinet, alto recorder, trumpet, harp, cimbalom, string quartet, piano, toy piano, 2 percussion

Otogi no kuni e - Fairy Tale Land (concerto). 2004-05. Cello, orchestra

Postludio a rovescio. 2007. Flute, clarinet, violin, cello