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RandaLL Harlow


performing artist and research scholar

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RandaLL Harlow


performing artist and research scholar

Concert organist and research scholar Randall Harlow has long dodged conventional expectations. As a performer, he eschewed the competition circuit, choosing instead to explore the outer reaches of the organ repertoire, from avant-garde contemporary and electro-acoustic compositions and forgotten works of the past to chamber music, concertos, and transcriptions. Performances have taken him across the US, to Russia, Germany, Greenland, and cathedrals in England. His research focuses on empirical and theoretical performance studies, from the embodied ecology of the performer and the construction of performance practices, to new technologies shaping the future of acoustic music.  
 

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Performer


Performer


A specialist in contemporary music, Randall Harlow was the first organist to be awarded a coveted New Music USA Project, in support of his upcoming CD recording, ORGANON NOVUS.  The most comprehensive recording ever produced of contemporary American organ music, the 3-disc album will feature more than twenty world premiere recordings of works by major American composers, from Samuel Adler, William Bolcom, and David Lang, to Shulamit Ran, Christian Wolff and John Zorn.  He performed many of these works in a series of concerts at Indiana University, the University of Chicago, Harvard and Stanford Universities.  His numerous premieres include the North American premiere of Karlheinz Stockhausen's Himmelfahrt, the First Hour of KLANG, and works for organ with live-electronics by Steve Everett and Rene Uijlenhoet.

Also an avid performer with orchestra, he performs the organ concertos of Lou Harrison and Chen Yi, and gave the North American premieres of concertos by Petr Eben, Tilo Medek, and Giles Swayne.  He gave the world premiere of the first and only Barlow Prize commission for organ, Exodus by Aaron Travers. In a pair of concerts dedicated to new music, he premiered new works by faculty and students at the Eastman School of Music and Cornell University and performed in improvisation on mechanical Baroque organs with the Cornell Avant Garde Ensemble (CAGE). He is also the first organist to transcribe for the organ Franz Liszt's legendary Transcendental Etudes, recently recording the work for his debut CD, TRANSCENDANTE, released in March 2017 on the Pro Organo label

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Scholar


Scholar


As a scholar Randall Harlow's interests range from empirical performance-cognition research, with a focus on gesture and ecological theories, to hyper-acoustic instruments and performance technology.  In 2015 he was awarded a Diesterweg Fellowship and served as a guest professor at the University of Siegen, Germany, researching hyperorgan technology in theory and practice.  He was a keynote speaker at the 2015 Orgelpark symposium in Amsterdam, and has presented at conferences at Cornell, Harvard, and Oxford Universities, the International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition (ICMPC), Performance Studies Network (PSN), Porto International Conference on Musical Gesture in Portugal, Göteborg International Organ Academy in Sweden (GOArt), the Westfield Center, and Eastman Rochester Organ Initiative Festival (EROI). 

Randall Harlow is currently Assistant Professor of Organ and Music Theory at the University of Northern Iowa.  He previously served for a year on faculty at Cornell University.  He has taught at two Pipe Organ Encounters and chairs the American Guild of Organists' national Committee on New Music.  Additionally, he serves as Dean of the Cedar Valley AGO chapter.  Randall Harlow holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Eastman School of Music, the Master of Music degree from Emory University, and Performer Diploma and Bachelor of Music degrees from Indiana University.  His organ teachers have included Timothy Albrecht, Hans Davidsson, Jonathan Biggers, Todd Wilson and Christopher Young, and William Porter in improvisation