Sadie Harrison House composer

Sadie Harrison is known primarily as a composer and lecturer, her music performed and broadcast across the globe, with works released to critical acclaim on Naxos, NMC, Cadenza, Sargasso, BML, Divine Art/Metier, and Clarinet Classics. For several years, she also pursued a secondary career as an archaeologist, specialising initially in the Irish Neolithic, and latterly in the prestige pottery of the Continental Bronze Age (also appearing on Channel 4’s Time Team). Reflecting her interest in the past, many of Sadie’s compositions have been inspired by the traditional musics of old and extant cultures with cycles of pieces based on the folk music of Afghanistan, Lithuania, the Isle of Skye, the Northern Caucasus and the UK. 

Her focus during 2015-16 has been on a substantial collaborative project entitled Gulistan-e Nur: The Rosegarden of Light, working with US Ensemble Cuatro Puntos (with whom she currently Composer-in-Residence) and students from the Afghanistan National Institute of Music (where she is currently Composer-in-Association). The project has resulted in a new commission for string sextet and youth ensemble, a US tour (September 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts, Connecticut) a European tour (May-June 2016 in York, Brighton, Swanage, London, Shaftesbury, Berlin, Amsterdam), performances of a related orchestral work, and a CD with Toccata Classics (released June 2016). The project has been generously supported by two Arts Council England Grants for the Arts, a PRSF Women Make Music Award, and grants from RVW, Hinrichsen, New Music USA and the Ambache Charitable Trust. 

2015 saw the release of a portrait CD by Toccata Classics, (Observer: ‘disc of glittering intensity’; BBC Music Magazine: ‘beautiful and intriguing’; Fanfare: ’a special, fragile space’) and a Guest Directorship of the Irish Composition Summer School. She was also appointed as Visiting Fellow to Goldsmiths College in recognition of her research work on Afghanistan.  Notable performances in 2015-16 took place at the International Mozart Festival in Johannesburg, in Pietermaritzburg and Stellenbosch, SA (Renée Reznek),York (Chimera, Geert Callaert, Albany Trio), Bergen, Nicosia and Tennessee (Peter Sheppard Skaerved), Club Inégales (Dr. K Sextet), Bristol (SCAW), Brighton (Helen Burford), Seaton (Trittico), Isle of Rasaay (Sarah Watts), Huddersfield (Nancy Ruffer), National Portrait Gallery, British Museum and Wiltons Music Hall (Peter Sheppard, Eve Daniel, Roderick Chadwick), Holbourne Museum (Elizabeth Walker/Richard Shaw), Shaftesbury, Stroud, Bristol, City University (Madeleine Mitchell/Geoff Poole/Ian Pace), The Forge, Camden (CHROMA), Almenucar, Granada (Frano Kakarigi), Late Music York (Pippa Harrison), Sydney, Australia (Jenny Duck-Chong), the USA Hartford Women Composers Festival, Brighton Fringe Festival, Institute of Cultural Diplomacy, Berlin (Cuatro Puntos). 

The Rosegarden of Light CD (Toccata Classics/Naxos) featuring Sadie’s original works alongside traditional music from the students at the Afghanistan National Institute of Music and arrangements of Afghan songs by Kevin Bishop was released in 2016 to great critical acclaim. BBC3 Record Review described the disc as ‘moving and intriguing’, and MusicWeb International as ‘engaging, mysterious, delightfully pointed dances.’

Sadie has recently completed a symphonic work for the Afghanistan National Youth Orchestra and Sapida-Dam-Nau for the Afghanistan Women’s Orchestra (Ensemble Zohra) supported by a Finzi Scholarship. This work will be premiered at the World Economic Forum in January 2017 with subsequent performances in Geneva, Weimar, Berlin and London. 2016 has also seen new works for violinist Peter Sheppard Skaerved (..an amaranth from the shade..), double bass virtuosos Frano Kakarigi (A Book of Poems) and Dan Styffe (Hällristningsområdet), the latter to be recorded on Prima Facie Records in December 2016; SQUISH! a string quartet for Cuatro Puntos in celebration of the deaf community in Hartford, Connecticut, USA premiering in December 2016. She is also collaborating with writer Malene Skaerved on a fairytale opera for Wiltons Music Hall and with Baroque violinist Kerstin Linder-Derwan on a new concerto for 2017. Sadie’s music is published by UYMP, ABRSM and Recital Music with works on examination board repertoire lists. Her website is at www.sadieharrisoncomposer.co.uk .

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