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 innovative 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


       New Music USA Project Grant awarded for Debut CD
This past summer he became the first organist to be awarded a highly competitive New Music USA Project Grant, in support of his debut album. Organon Novus will be a three-disc anthology featuring twenty-five works by major American composers from the past twenty-five years. Recorded on the historic Skinner organ in Rockefeller Chapel at the University of Chicago, it will include twenty world premiere recordings of works by composers ranging from Sam Adler, Bill Bolcom, and Shulamit Ran to Tom Johnson, Christian Wolff, and John Zorn. Visit the Recordings page or the New Music USA Project page for more detailed information

       Keynote Speaker at Orgelpark Conference in Amsterdam
In June 2015 he was invited to give a keynote address at a multidisciplinary conference at Orgelpark in Amsterdam.  Titled "Hyperorgans and the Future of Acoustic Music," the presentation was geared toward scholars of Musicology and Science and Technology Studies, addressing the development of hyper-acoustic music technology within the context of contemporary social shifts toward analog reality

       Summer Research Fellowship in Germany
From May to August 2015 he served as a Guest Professor under a Diesterweg Fellowship at the University of Siegen in Germany. While in Siegen he led 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 conducted research into hyperorgan technology, and tested hyperacoustic technology on an organ in Siegen. He presented a lecture-recital featuring compositions and improvisations with live-electronics, including a performance of Bengt Hambraeus' graphic composition Extempore with an Ableton PUSH controller, and the German premiere of Steve Everett's Vanitas with the composer operating live Kyma sound design

       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 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