Composers Festival Spotlight: Holly Harrison

Holly Harrison

Holly Harrison is the first-ever MICF resident composer to come from Australia, where she was was born and raised, and currently is studying for a Doctorate of Creative Arts in Composition at the University of Western Sydney. She previously graduated from the University’s bachelor of music program with the University Medal for outstanding academic achievement.

Holly’s music is “driven by the nonsense literature of Lewis Carroll, embracing stylistic juxtapositions, the visceral energy of rock, and whimsical humour.” The first and last of those qualities certainly are reflected in the name of the piece she’s written for Alarm Will Sound to perform at the festival, which is called “Radishes and Strings.”

Another of Holly’s works, “Cabbages and Kings,” recently won first place at the 2014 Young Composers Meeting in Apeldoorn, The Netherlands, resulting in a commission to write a new piece for Orkest de Ereprijs for 2015. “Cabbages and Kings” also will be performed by Orkest de Ereprijs in September at the Gaudeamus Muziekweek in Utrecht.

Her honors and awards have included an Australia Postgraduate Award, three APRA Composition Awards, and the Marianne Rosenberg Musicology Prize. Holly received the Australia and Pacific Prize for the 2014 Zvi Zeitlin Memorial International Composers Competition, and in 2013 was the winner of the inaugural Pyeongchon Arts Hall International Chamber Music Composition Competition (South Korea).

Holly was selected for the 2013 Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music Composers Workshop here in the USA and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s 2012-2013 Cybec 21st Century Australian Composers Program. She also was the Australian representative for the Young Composers Competition at the 29th Asian Composers’ League Conference and Festival held in 2011 in Taiwan.

Her music has been performed in Australia, Asia, Europe and the USA by ensembles and soloists including the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Orkest de Ereprijs, Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, Minot Symphony Orchestra, Hwaum Chamber Orchestra, National Taiwan Normal University Orchestra, Ensemble Offspring’s Jason Noble, and Antonietta Loffredo. Holly currently is collaborating with The Riot Ensemble (UK) on a work for two percussionists.

You can hear some of Holly Harrison’s music in the SoundCloud player embedded below.

Holly Harrison on drums in a duo with guitarist Joey Tabua,
recorded in May 2013 at the Workshop Playhouse Theater.

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