Music theory is integral to the education of students at Peraza Music Workshop. We are pleased of welcome our new, highly-qualified, theory teachers: Ellen Harrison and Chris Lennard. Ms. Harrison is teaching theory to group classes on Wednesdays. Mr. Lennard is teaching to the Saturday group classes.
Born and raised in Streator, Illinois, Ellen Ruth Harrison received her doctorate in composition for the University of California, Berkeley, where her teachers included Edwin Dugger, Richard Felciano, Andrew Imbrie and Olly Wilson. Supported by U.C. Berkeley’s Prix de Paris, Ms. Harrison spent two years studying in Paris and attending composer workshops at IRCAM. In addition, she has studied with Milko Kelemen at the Musikhochschule in Stuttgart and with Thomas Frederickson and Paul Zonn at the University of Illinois.
Penned for instrumental and vocal ensembles of various sizes, Ms. Harrison’s compositions have been inspired by diverse experiences and circumstances. Echoing her evocatively titled movements, her music at times seems to dip into distant and antique sonic realms to portray a series of contrasting moods and atmospheres. At other times, the tone is more jocular as she juxtaposes impetuous activity with infernal calm at multiple levels, presenting an extraordinary variety of textures, melodic materials, and expressive gestures.
Her music has been widely performed both in the United States and abroad, and her works have received numerous honors and awards from organizations such as: the American Guild of Organists, the Fromm Music Foundation, IBLA European International Competition for Composers, and the Ohio Arts Council. She is an adjunct instructor of composition at University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) and chair of theory and composition at CCM’s Preparatory Department.
Chris Lennard began playing percussion in 1998 and started formal musical training at Bowling Green State University in 2006, where he studied with Roger B. Schu[[ and Isabelle Huang. While there, Mr. Lennard performed as a member of Percussion Group BG and the New Music Ensemble, and frequently appeared as a marimba soloist. During this time, he served as the principal percussionist for the Perrysburg Symphony and worked in collaboration with Nightfire Dance Studio.
In 2008, he released Compulsory Bingo with Ochar E. Lindsann, an album of improvised noise for voice and a variety of insturments. From 2012-2013, Mr. Lennard studied with Bonnie Whiting at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where he was a member of Ensemble 64.8 and the Fairbanks Symphony Orhestra. While there, he also taught Fundamentals of Music, and undergraduate music theory course, and volunteered as the music director for the Fairbanks Shakespeare Theater’s performance of Romeo and Juliet.
From 2008-2013, he maintained a private drum set and percussion studio. I 2014, Mr. Lennard arranged Kurt Schwitters’ hour-long sound poem Ursonata for percussion and premiered it as a duet with a performance poet. He also revised the piece to stand alone as a percussion solo, which premiered in 2015. In 2014, he began a master’s degree in music theory at CCM. His research interests include rhythm and meter, electronic music, popular music, spectral music, timbral analysis, music appraisal, dissonance, and the metaphors we use to talk about music.