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  Composer Profiles

Jeff Harrington

Jeff Harrington Jeff Harrington

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Jeffrey Harrington was born in 1955 in Forest, Mississippi. His mother and father were amateur musicians who played the popular music of the 40's and 50's for fun. In high school he taught himself blues and boogie-woogie piano and built a synthesizer from parts. He began composing when he was 17 and won a composition contest for a serial composition using an isorhythm derived from a Billy Cobham song bass line.

Harrington continued his composition studies at LSU and at the Juilliard School where he studied in the Master's program with Elliott Carter and Roger Sessions. He has also studied with Morton Subotnick, Jacob Druckman (master class), Joan LaBarbara, James Drew, Barbara Jazwinski and Deborah Drattell.

Jeff Harrington

In 1981 he began a series of compositions using the harmonic idiom of the 18th century with rhythms from jazz and African-American music. In 1987 he returned to a more chromatic style of composition while retaining his interest in melody and counterpoint and the dramatic/developmental processes of the music of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. In 1990 he retracted all but a few of his compositions written to date (approximately 100).

In 1991 he programmed an expert system in C (inspired by a book by Taniiev - Convertible Counterpoint) which assists him in his discovery of the contrapuntal possibilities inherent in his melodies. The system takes up to 6 tracks of music and determines (using a pre-selected harmonic rulebase) the points at which the melodies mesh to produce effective counterpoint. The system produces music files ready to audition in realtime, so he can simultaneously be developing a transition while he produces the next section of counterpoint.

Harrington currently supports himself as a Java programmer for ACTV, an interactive television company with a distance learning division. He's also worked at Children's Television Workshop where he wrote a suite of educational, yet silly, Sesame Street Java games and Castanet channels. He has also been a counselor/computer programmer for Choice in Dying: The National Council for the Right to Die and he set up the WWW pages for the American Music Center. He's also worked in the offshore oil fields of Louisiana as a galley hand, in music libraries at Tulane and Loyola University, and at several record stores including the world's first record store, Liberty Music (Madison Ave. behind Saks), where he met Frank Sinatra and learned how to sneak into Carnegie Hall. (Practice, practice, practice). Harrington's music has been performed around the world (from Siberia to St. Louis).

Piano Preludes Piano Preludes
Obliterature Obliterature
Anamorphosis Anamorphosis