Robert A. Harris is a member of the faculty of the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University and holds the position of Professor of Conducting and Director of Choral Organizations. Prior to joining the faculty at Northwestern in 1977, Harris taught at Wayne State University in Detroit, and at Michigan State University in East Lansing where he served as Director of Choral Activities from 1970 to 1977. He has also held visiting professorships at Wayne State University, The University of Texas (Austin) and the University of South Africa in Pretoria.
Harris is active as a conductor, choral clinician and adjudicator, having appeared in these capacities throughout the United States; the Republic of China, where he served as one of two guest conductors/clinicians for the Taipei Philharmonic Choral and Conducting Workshop; in South Korea, where he was the guest conductor for Korea’s premier professional choir, the Inchon City Chorale; in Hong Kong as a guest conductor of a Choral Festival Youth Chorale; in South Africa where he presented conducting master classes, workshops and lectures throughout the country; and in Argentina where he presented lectures and master classes on African American spirituals.
As a composer, Harris has been the recipient of over forty commissions from various schools, churches and musical organizations. His compositions, especially those of the choral genre, have received performances throughout the United States, Europe, and in South Africa. His published works are currently in the catalogs of Oxford University Press, Mark Foster, Boosey and Hawkes, Walton Music, Alliance Music, Morning Star and J.S. Paluch
Awards and honors for Harris include an Alumni Arts Achievement Award in Music from Wayne State University, he was the recipient of the 2000-2001 Northwestern University School of Music's Faculty Exemplar Teaching Award, and was one of three University professors to receive a Northwestern University Alumni Association Excellence in Teaching Award for the 2001-2002 school year. Harris also served for three years as a member of the Choral Panel of the National Endowment for the Arts and twice functioned as the panel's co-chair. Biographical entries include Who's Who Among Black Americans, Men of Achievement (London), and Who's Who in America.
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