Randall's pictureRANDALL HARLOW




The official website for Concert Organist Randall Harlow


Randall Harlow strives to maintain a balance between the life of a virtuoso performing artist and cutting-edge research scholar. As a performer, he has eschewed the competition circuit, choosing instead to explore the outer reaches of the organ repertoire, from avant-garde contemporary and electro-acoustic compositions and forgotten works of the past to chamber music, concertos, and transcriptions. Performances have taken him across the US, to Russia, Germany, Greenland, and cathedrals in England. His performances can be heard on American Public Media's nationally syndicated radio show Pipedreams

As a scholar, Randall Harlow's work focuses on empirical performance research and new applications of technology for acoustic music. He has published articles on these topics and presented at conferences at Harvard and Cornell Universities, Westfield Center, Göteborg Organ Art Center (GOArt) in Sweden, Orgelpark in Amsterdam, the International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition (ICMPC), and the National Convention of the American Guild of Organists. He holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Eastman School of Music and is currently Assistant Professor of Organ and Music Theory at the University of Northern Iowa


        Debut Recording Coming Soon!
He is preparing to complete his debut recording this Spring, featuring twenty works by major American composers from the past twenty years. To be recorded on the historic Skinner organ in Rockefeller Chapel at the University of Chicago, it will include fifteen world premiere recordings of works by composers ranging from Sam Adler and Bill Bolcom to Christian Wolff and John Zorn. This two-disc recording of 140 minutes of music will mark the first volume in a projected multi-volume collection of contemporary American organ music to be completed in the coming years. Visit the Recordings page for more detailed information.

       Summer Research Fellowship in Germany
Later this Spring he will be leaving to conduct a four-month long Diesterweg Fellowship at the University of Siegen in Germany. While in Siegen he will lead a seminar titled "The Ecology of Music in the Embodied Mind," a multidisciplinary overview of recent research into embodied music cognition, gesture, and performance. At the same time, he will be conducting research into hyperorgan technology, testing virtual- and augmented- hyperacoustic technology on an organ in Siegen. He will present a lecture-recital featuring compositions and improvisations with live-electronics on July 4th

       Contemporary American Organ Music Tour
In Fall 2014 he presented a series of concerts at Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music, the University of Chicago, and Harvard University. Geared toward composers, these concerts featured works composed over the past twenty years by major american, non-organist composers, including the world premiere of the Barlow Prize composition, Exodus, by Aaron Travers, as well as works by  Lukas Foss, Jennifer Higdon, David Lang, Larry Polansky, Shulamit Ran, Augusta Read Thomas, Joan Tower, and George Walker

       Conference in Seoul
In August 2014 his paper titled, "Psychohaptics and the Affordances of Musical Instruments: Toward an Ecological Theory of Performance," was presented at the biannual International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition, this year at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea. Read the abstract

       Lecture in Amsterdam
In June 2014 he presented a paper at a special symposium surrounding a future Hyperorgan in Amsterdam's Orgelpark. Orgelpark is a deconsecrated church which has been turned into a center for all things organ, with a special focus on contemporary organ music and innovative organ projects. Orgelpark already has four organs in house. The new, fifth organ will be a tracker-key, mechanical-stop instrument built according to Baroque specifications and construction techniques. However, it will also feature a redundant and fully interfacing, variably matrixing electric action. Keep up with the project on the Orgelpark blog

        Lecture and Workshop at AGO Convention, Boston
He presented both a workshop and research paper at the 2014 National Convention of the American Guild of Organists in Boston this June. His 50-minute workshop was titled, "Keyboard Psychohaptics: Empirical Performance and Pedagogy Research and its Applications." An informative session for non-experts and experts alike, this workshop presented results from recent scientific research into keyboard performance and discussed its ramifications and future prospects. His separate research paper was titled "Hyperorgan Technology, Augmented Reality, and the Triumph of Acoustic Music." A pointed refutation of the often widespread belief that the electronic organ will continue to spell the demise of the pipe organ, this paper discussed how recent technological innovation in pipe organ design may hold promise for a new golden age for the fully acoustic pipe organ