Part of Conversations with Bruce Duffie
Recorded in Chicago, Illinois on June 13, 1991
Duffie remembers the conversation: “Usually it’s baseball. For some reason, many of the composers with whom I have done interviews seem to enjoy baseball…[but] as you are about to see, composer John Harbison is into various sports, especially soccer. So why would all this come up when the guest is a noted composer of concert music? The reason was the circumstance surrounding the interview itself! We met in 1991 at Harbison’s hotel in downtown Chicago, after my regular 6 PM to 12 Midnight shift at WNIB. At 12:30 AM, as June 12 had just become June 13, our conversation began with the Chicago Bulls, who had just won their first NBA Championship…”
Read the transcript of the interview here.
Citing his most important influences as the Bach Cantatas, Stravinsky (whom he met in Santa Fe in 1963) and jazz, John Harbison’s music is distinguished by its exceptional invention and deeply expressive range. He has written for every conceivable type of concert genre, ranging from the grand opera to the most intimate; pieces that embrace jazz along with the classical forms. His prolific, personal and greatly admired music written for the voice encompasses a catalogue of over 70 works including opera, choral, voice with orchestra and chamber/solo works. (Source: Associated Music Publishers)