In this Musical Moment, VocalEssence artistic director and founder Philip Brunelle shares insider information and beautiful music by the composer Robert Harris.
The African American composer and educator Robert A. Harris, is best-known for his choral settings of sacred and secular texts. Dr. Harris received his education from Wayne State University in Detroit, the Eastman School of Music, and earned his doctorate from Michigan State University in composition and theory during his term at Northwestern University. Dr. Harris served as Director of the Milwaukee Symphony Chorus for the 2016-17 season, guest conductor of the Carolina Coast Festival Chorus and Orchestra’s Spring Festival, and guest conductor at Wayne State University. He served as Professor of Conducting and Director of Choral Organizations at Northwestern University from 1977-2012. Awards and honors for Harris include an Alumni Arts Achievement Award in Music from Wayne State University and the 2000-2001 Northwestern University School of Music’s Faculty Exemplar Teaching Award. Additionally, a video Oral History interview of Harris has been made a permanent part of the History Makers Collections at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. His choral works highlight sacred texts and feature a number of arrangements for SATB choir with piano, organ, or a cappella. Dr. Harris is currently Professor Emeritus at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music in Evanston, IL.