Randall's pictureRANDALL 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 musical gesture and performance research, and new applications of technology for "hyper" acoustic music. He has published articles on these topics and presented at conferences at Cornell and Harvard Universities, Westfield Center, Porto International Conference on Musical Gesture in Portugal, 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


       Copland Fund Recording Grant
Upcoming recording ORGANON NOVUS: Contemporary Organ Works by American Masters (1990-2015) was awarded a 2016 Recording Grant from the Aaron Copland Fund for Music. This generous grant will fund the production and manufacture of the 3-disc album, to be released on the Innova label in the coming year.

       Conference at Oxford University
In September 2016 he presented a paper titled "Inertia and Gesture in Embodiments of Time" at Oxford University as part of the international conference, Making Time in Music. Read the abstract

       Performance Studies Network Conference, Bath, UK
In July 2016 he presented a paper titled "The Ecological Construction of Performance" at Bath Spa University as part of the Performance Studies Network Conference, an international multidisciplinary conference co-sponsored by Bath and Cambridge Universities. This paper is a companion work to the Porto paper from March, building upon the cognitive foundations laid out in the first paper to more fully explore the connections between the ecology of performance and the cultural domain. Read the Abstract

       International Conference on Musical Gesture, Porto, Portugal
In March 2016 he presented a paper titled "Direct Action and the Primacy of Gesture in the Ecology of Performance" at the Porto International Conference on Musical Gesture as Creative Interface at Universidade Católica Portuguesa in Porto, Portugal. The conference brought together leading scholars of music and gesture among diverse disciplines from around the world. Read the abstract

       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