• Guest Blogger at New Music Toronto

    I had the opportunity to write a concert review of Friday night’s Arraymusic concert, which featured the music of James Tenney, for the blog New Music Toronto. I love writing about music, and I believe there needs to be more discussion about contemporary music in Toronto.

    Thanks to Paolo Griffin for the opportunity! You can read the review here.

  • Gagaku Music

    Gagaku Music

    Ever since I visited Japan for a wind ensemble competition in 2009, I’ve been fascinated by Japanese culture and music. It was my first time in Asia, and I felt like I was on another planet altogether. Tokyo is deliciously overwhelming in every way, from it’s ultra modern, replaceable architecture to its complex spaghetti bowl transit system and it’s fluorescent pop culture.

    Underneath all this modern gloss, I discovered ancient gagaku and other Japanese musical traditions. I studied gagaku in depth for my doctoral comprehensive exams, and became fascinated with its instruments, its structure and its incredible longevity. It is a rich musical form, different from all other musics I was familiar with at the time, and from which I continue to draw musical inspiration for my own work.

    A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to attend a concert by Nagata Shachu, a taiko drumming ensemble based here in Toronto. The ensemble performed new compositions written by members of the group in an attempt to enrich this ancient art form, but I found myself drawn more to the traditional music presented, especially that which incorporated complex dance-like gestures into the performance. The last piece on their program, Miyake, was especially rich in both sonic and visual beauty. This was a very inspiring concert.


    Batô, a piece of gagaku music.

  • Babel Scores

    I’m thrilled to announce that my scores are now available through the Europe-based music publisher Babel Scores. My Babel Scores page has easy access to score samples, recordings and program notes. I’m among some excellent composers represented at Babel Scores. I’m honoured to be a part of their community.

    You can access my page here: http://www.babelscores.com/brianharman

    Note that my scores will remain available through the Canadian Music Centre. Here is my CMC page.

  • Listening

    I’m doing some listening as I plan out my next project for the Silver Birch String Quartet, and I came across this amazing piece called Blackjack by Michael Beil. It’s like a giant multimedia puzzle that the composer assembled. Leaves you wanting to watch it again to figure out how it works.

  • Concert Tonight!

    Here is the formidable Jane Wood in a teaser for tonight’s concert at the Music Gallery!

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