(Biographie en français en bas.)

Brian Harman (b. 1981) is a Canadian composer, teacher and writer, and is currently the president of the Canadian League of Composers. His music has been described as “three-dimensional, maybe four-dimensional” (Arthur Kaptainis, The Gazette) and “effective and chilling” (Richard Todd, Ottawa Citizen). Harman’s music is frequently inspired by extra-musical elements, such as architecture, human speech, modern dance, technology and concepts of ritual. He has collaborated extensively with artists in other disciplines (performance artist Nina Arsenault, choreographer/dancer Geneviève Bolla, visual artist Danilo Ursini), and has written for a wide variety of media: orchestra, wind ensemble, choir, chamber ensembles, song cycle, opera, solo piano, theatre, modern dance, film and live electronics.

Brian was recently a finalist in the RCM’s 21C Festival video competition. In 2013, he worked closely with Georges Aperghis on a new percussion trio at Austria’s Impuls Festival, and was a featured composer in the SOUNDLAB podcast series. His orchestral work Supposed Spaces was selected as part of Canada’s 2013 submission to the ISCM’s World New Music Days, and was a winner in the 2012 SOCAN Foundation awards. In 2011 he was a winner in ISCM’s International Vocal Music Competition, resulting in a commission from Vienna’s Wiener Jeunesse Kammerchor, and received an honourable mention for his work Gregarious Machines in the CLC’s 60th Anniversary Composition Competition. In 2009 he was a finalist in the Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra Composition Competition. He toured Canada with the Ensemble Contemporain de Montréal+ as part of their Génération 2008 program, and in 2004 he was a finalist in the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s New Creations competition.

Harman’s music has been performed across Canada, the US, England, Austria, and Japan, and by such ensembles as the Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra, New Music Concerts, Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, Ensemble Contemporain de Montréal+, VivaVoce Montreal, 5-Penny New Music Ensemble, and Codes d’accès. He has also collaborated with various festivals and organizations: he is part of the creative team for Nu:Nord (Montreal/Oslo/London), was a visiting artist for Cluster Music and Integrated Arts Festival (Winnipeg), and was a guest artist and lecturer for the Montreal Contemporary Music Lab 2012. He has developed youth composition workshops for Conservatory Canada and the Ottawa Chamber Music Society.

Harman received his Doctor of Music (Composition) from McGill University in 2012, where he studied music-architecture relationships in his dissertation. Among his composition teachers are Denys Bouliane, Brian Cherney, Larysa Kuzmenko and Chan Ka Nin. His research focuses on 20th/21st Century Canadian m­usic, especially that of Ana Sokolovic and Claude Vivier. His analysis of Sokolovic’s Géométrie Sentimentale was published in Circuit in February 2013. He has taught extensively as a sessional instructor, teaching assistant and private theory/composition teacher.

Harman was recently elected the president of the Canadian League of Composers, and became an Ontario-region Councillor with the CLC in 2013. He is also an associate composer with the Canadian Music Centre. He has participated in various international workshops and residencies, including Impuls (Graz, Austria, 2013), Ostrava Days (Czech Republic, 2011), Rencontres de Nouvelle Musique (Domaine Forget, 2007) and the National Arts Centre Composers Programme (Ottawa, 2006). He has received grants for his compositions and research from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the SOCAN Foundation, the Conseil des Arts et des Lettres du Québec, and the Fonds de Recherche sur la Société et la Culture.

Current commissions include a new work for flute and piano for Tiresias Duo (Vancouver), a flute octet for Ensemble Contemporain de Montréal+ and Tempest Flute Ensemble (Vancouver), and a large-scale opera project with librettist David Brock.


Brian Harman (né en 1981) est un compositeur, enseigneur et auteur canadien, ainsi que le président de la Ligue canadienne des compositeurs. Sa musique a été décrite comme suit : « tridimensionnelle, peut-être quadridimensionnelle » (Arthur Kaptainis, The Gazette) et « qui fait de l’effet et donne le frisson » (Richard Todd, Ottawa Citizen). Brian a collaboré récemment avec Georges Aperghis à une nouvelle œuvre pour l’Impuls Festival en Autriche, et il a été le compositeur invité de la série de podcasts SOUNDLAB. Sa pièce pour orchestre Supposed Spaces a été l’une des œuvres soumises par le Canada aux Journées mondiales de la musique 2013 de la SIMC. En 2011, il a été l’un des lauréats au Concours international de musique vocale de la SIMC, ce qui lui a valu une commande du Wiener Jeunesse Kammerchor et une mention honorable au Concours de composition de la LCC. En 2009, il s’est classé finaliste à la Kosei Wind Orchestra Composition Competition de Tokyo.

La musique de Brian s’inspire souvent d’éléments extramusicaux tels que l’architecture, le langage humain et les concepts de rituels. Il a composé dans plusieurs genres et souvent collaboré avec des artistes d’autres disciplines (Nina Arsenault, Geneviève Bolla, Danilo Ursini, etc.). Sa musique a été interprétée par New Music Concerts, le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, l’Ensemble Contemporain de Montréal+, le 5-Penny New Music Ensemble, Codes d’accès et la soprano Carla Huhtanen, entre autres. Il a travaillé avec diverses organisations : Nu:Nord (Montréal/Oslo), le Cluster Music and Integrated Arts Festival (Winnipeg), le Labo de musique contemporaine de Montréal et Conservatory Canada.

Brian a obtenu un doctorat en musique (composition) de l’Université McGill en 2012. Ses recherches portent sur la musique canadienne des 20e et 21e siècles, en particulier celle d’Ana Sokolovic et de Claude Vivier. Son analyse de Géométrie sentimentale de Sokolovic est parue dans la revue Circuit en février 2013.

Select Recent Concerts

February 19, 2015: World premiere of Hum, for 12 instruments
“Raging Against the Machine”, Music Gallery, Toronto, ON
Also performed on Tour, Spring 2015, Western Canada
Ensemble Paramirabo (Montreal) & Thin Edge New Music Collective (Toronto)

December 9, 2014: World premiere of Outlands, for chamber orchestra
Glenn Gould School New Music Ensemble, Toronto
Conducted by Brian Current

November 13, 2014: Canadian premiere of Skolia, for soprano and violin
Quebec-centric concert curated by Brian Harman, Canadian Music Centre, Toronto, ON
Carla Huhtanen, soprano and Leslie Ting, violin

October 22, 2014: world premiere of Orbits, for flute and sho
Japan Consulate Anniversary Concert, Vancouver, BC
Jeff Stonehouse, flute and Naomi Sato, sho

August 23, 2014: world premiere of Skolia, for soprano and violin
nunord new music community: Oslo, Norway and London, UK
Silje Aker Johnsen, soprano and Mira Benjamin, violin

June 1, 2014: US Premiere of Still Life for solo piano with projected video
Featuring performance artist Nina Arsenault
Danilo Ursini, video
Jane Wood, piano
∆TENT Ensemble, Tenri Cultural Institute, New York City

May 3, 2014: World premiere of Paths for string quartet
Silver Birch String Quartet, Sudbury
Further concerts on tour

March 23, 2013: Premiere of Sanctuary, for instrumental septet
5-Penny New Music Concerts, Sudbury
Brian Current, conductor

February 23, 2013: Premiere of Rituals and Tendencies, for chamber choir
Wiener Jeunesse Kammerchor, Vienna
Ajtony Csaba, conductor
Broadcast by the Austrian Broadcasting Company (ORF Wien)

February 3, 2013: Premiere of En Masse, for instrumental septet
New Music Concerts, Toronto
Robert Aitken, conductor

November 1, 2012: Premiere of À la Fois, for violin and cello
Code d’accès, Montreal
Geneviève Liboiron, violin and Emilie Girard-Charest, cello


Updated April 2015


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