Frederick Harris, Jr. is Director of Wind and Jazz Ensembles at Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he serves as music director of the MIT Wind Ensemble and MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble. He also has served as acting music director of the MIT Symphony Orchestra, four years as assistant conductor of the Boston University Tanglewood Institute Young Artists Wind Ensemble, and three years as music director of the Summer Music Festival at the South Shore Conservatory (MA). He also is president and artistic director of Symbiosis New England, a professional Boston-based wind ensemble dedicated to new music and education.
Dr. Harris’ first book, Conducting with Feeling, was published by Meredith Music in 2001. His new book, Seeking the Infinite: The Musical Life of Stanisław Skrowaczewski, will be published by CreateSpace in 2010.
He organized an international consortium of nine orchestras and wind ensembles from the U.S., Germany, Austria, and Japan to commission Maestro Skrowaczewski to compose a work for orchestral winds. Music for Winds is currently being performed worldwide.
Dr. Harris is a strong advocate for the creation and performance of new music, having commissioned and/or premiered over 65 works for wind, jazz, and various mixed ensembles. Innova Recordings of the American Composers Forum published his first professional recording, Waking Winds, in 2004. The CD features premiere recordings by the MIT Wind Ensemble of works by Schuller, Ziporyn, Child, and Robison. Albany Records released his second CD, Solo Eclipse, in 2008. It features world premiere recordings of works by Kenneth Amis, Guillermo Klein, and Ran Blake, all MIT Wind Ensemble commissions. His ensembles at MIT have worked with artists such as Gunther Schuller, John Harbison, Michael Colgrass, Herb Pomeroy, Joe Lovano, Kenny Werner, Don Byron, Ran Blake, Steve Turre, Magali Souriau, Guillermo Klein, and Evan Ziporyn.
Dr. Harris has guest conducted and lectured at several universities throughout New England and Canada. At the University of Minnesota he conducted the Concerto Grosso Orchestra and was a guest conductor of the Symphonic Wind Ensemble. He also was as guest conductor for the New Hampshire Philharmonic Orchestra and the Chamber Music Society of Minnesota. He earned a bachelor of music education degree from the Boston Conservatory, master of music degree from New England Conservatory, and Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. His conducting teachers include Frank Battisti, Gunther Schuller, Craig Kirchhoff, and Stanisław Skrowaczewski. He studied percussion with Arthur Press, former principal percussionist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and jazz drums with Alan Dawson.
Formerly an instrumental music director in the Belmont (MA) Public Schools for eight years, Dr. Harris is a strong proponent for music education. His wind ensembles in Belmont performed at the 1995 MENC All-Eastern Conference, Carnegie Hall, and at Symphony Hall in Boston. His jazz ensembles performed with artists such as James Williams, Alan Dawson, Howard Levy, Mike Monaghan, Rick Stepton, and Ingrid Jensen. He initiated the Belmont High School Commissioned Works Project in 1992, which produced 15 compositions by many prominent composers including Dana Wilson and Gunther Schuller. He has organized several meetings/conferences/sessions for music educators at MIT, Boston University, and the South Shore Conservatory and is a frequent guest conductor for regional educational ensembles.
Dr. Harris can be contacted at: email@example.com