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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 France, Germany, Greenland, Russia and cathedrals in England. His research focuses on empirical and theoretical music 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 nineteen world premiere recordings of works by major American composers, from Samuel Adler, David Lang, and Alvin Lucier, 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 firsts include the North American premiere of Karlheinz Stockhausen's Himmelfahrt, the First Hour of KLANG; world premieres of solo works by John Anthony Lennon and Shulamit Ran; and world and North American premieres of works for organ with live-electronics by Steve Everett and Rene Uijlenhoet.

Also an avid performer with orchestra, he gave the North American premieres of concertos by Petr Eben, Tilo Medek, and Giles Swayne and performs the organ concertos of Lou Harrison and Chen Yi.  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, recording the work for his debut CD, TRANSCENDANTE, released on the Pro Organo label. His upcoming recording project, HYPERORGAN: A Spectral Deconstruction of Baroque Cybernetics, an extended improvisation exploring microtones and live sampling on mechanical Baroque organ, navigates the liminal realm between sound and noise.

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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. He was recently named a Fulbright Global Scholar, a fellowship that will take him in 2020 to McGill University in Monteal and Orgelpark in Amsterdam to lead a team of artists and researchers to develop a new type of intercontinental hyper-acoustic musical instrument: the GLOBAL HYPERORGAN. Has was also awarded a Diesterweg Fellowship at the University of Siegen, German, where he served as a guest professor researching hyperorgan technology in theory and practice. He was a keynote speaker at the 2017 and 2015 Orgelpark symposiums, 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 has chaired the American Guild of Organists' national Committee on New Music. 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