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John Harbison

John Harbison is an American composer whose work is notable for its astonishing range and diversity. He has written for every conceivable type of concert performance and is also considered[…]

Harbison discusses his influences and recounts seeing Stravinsky conduct.

Question: Which composers influenced you most?

John Harbison: Mostly the musicians that I learned from and whose music I was studying and playing, some of whom I knew if they were alive. These came from very many fields of music. Probably Stravinsky who was still alive, and who I did witness as a young kid conducting, and whose music I knew at a very early age. For some of that period Bartok was still around. Jazz musicians that I knew really well from the recordings who I occasionally heard live, Thelonious Monk was probably most important or Oscar Peterson – I just felt they were almost like my friends. I adopted them. Bach, who was probably from the very beginning the first music I knew, and the first music that my father taught me to play, and certainly the music that I continue to be the most interested in over time.

Recorded On: 6/12/07