Professor Jonty Harrison

Department of Music
Emeritus Professor of Composition and Electroacoustic Music

Contact details

Bramall Music Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

I am a composer, primarily of multichannel acousmatic electroacoustic music, with a particular interest in the use of real-world sounds.


BA, DPhil (York)


My teaching activity focuses on composition (especially acousmatic electroacoustic composition) and associated topics – performance practice, history and analysis. I have also taught several modules addressing the music of the 20th and 21st centuries, but I have, on occasion, ranged as far back as Wagner.

Other activities

Besides composing and performing acousmatic music, my other principal musical activity is conducting – I recently conducted a staged production of Berio’s Laborintus II and one of the four groups in Stockhausen’s Carré. I have also conducted six performances of Stockhausen’s Momente in two different productions, Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring and Symphonies of Wind Instruments, Berio’s Passaggio, Sinfonia and Folk Songs, Schoenberg’s Pierrot lunaire, Debussy’s Prélude à L’Après-midi d’un faune, La Mer and Jeux, Skryabin’s Poem of Ecstasy and works by living composers, including Harrison Birtwistle, Jonathan Lloyd, Rajmil Fischmann, Simon Holt and my former colleague Vic Hoyland. During the 90s, I made a number of conducting appearances with the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group.

I have been a jury member for a number of international composition competitions, including the Bourges Electroacoustic Awards (France), the Prix Ars Electronica (Austria), HEAR (Hungary), Métamorphoese (Belgium) and Destellos (Argentina). I was an active Board Member of Sonic Arts Network for many years and have served on the Peer Review College of the AHRC. I was a member of Sub-panel 67 (Music) for the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise.

I have been the Keynote Speaker at a number of conferences, including the Australasian Computer Music Conference, Wellington, NZ (1999), SEA ’03 Conference, Scarborough (2003), SoundAsArt conference, Aberdeen (2006), Applied and Creative Arts Conference, Sarawak, Malaysia (2005), Royal Musical Association Conference, Aberdeen (2008), Sonic Spatial Perspectives, Leeds (2009) and Toronto Electroacoustic Symposium (2011).

I have been Featured Composer at festivals and concerts – Rien à Voir, Montreal (1997, 2002), Deep Wireless Festival, Toronto (2002), Realtime-Non-Realtime Festival, Basel (2005), University of Cologne (2006), Festival L’Espace du son, Brussels (2006), University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna (2008), The Tank, New York City (2009), Harvard University (2009), San Francisco Tape Music Festival (2011), Stanford University (2011), University of California at Berkeley (2011), Toronto Electroacoustic Symposium (2011).

I was guest composition teacher at the summer school of the Ionian University of Corfu (2006) and the Sound Travels Intensive, Toronto (2011) and in 2010 I was the Edgard Varèse Guest Professor of Computer Music at the Technische Universität, Berlin.

I have been composer in residence in a number of leading studios: Ina-GRM, Paris; IRCAM, Paris; GMEB/IMEB, Bourges, France; Magyar Rádió, Budapest; Atelier Zum Kleinen Markgräflerhof/Elektronisches Studio, Hochschule für Musik, Musik-Akademie der Stadt Basel, Switzerland; Studio Métamorphoses d’Orphée, Musiques et Recherches, Ohain, Belgium; Bangor University.