Damien Harron - Percussionist, Composer and Educator
Damien Harron studied at the University of Huddersfield and the Conservatoire National de Region de Rueil Malmaison in Paris where he studied with Gaston Sylvestre, specialising in the performance of music theatre. He co-founded BackBeat Percussion Quartet which soon won numerous awards including the Royal Overseas League Ensemble Prize (UK), the Concert Artists Guild Prize (USA) and the Gold medal at the Osaka Chamber Music Festa ( Japan ). These awards led to major concert tours abroad, including three tours of Japan and concerts at Weill Hall and Merkin Hall , New York . Damien's compositions for percussion quartet were featured heavily in these performances.
Damien has devoted himself to the performance of new music and has developed his interests in a great many global styles of percussion playing to gain a reputation as an extremely versatile performer. He has collaborated with many artists from outside of the sphere of Western art music and recently developed a duo with the tabla maestro Sanju Sahai. Another collaboration with Sanju was at the 2005 Leamington Festival which commissioned a new work from Damien ( Sangam ) for tabla and percussion quartet.
Currently Damien is a member of the groups Black Hair and Decibel and appears regularly as a soloist with both groups. His piece 'Taking Sides' (solo percussion and electronics) was premiered at Decibel's BMIC 'Cutting Edge series at the Warehouse in November 2005 and has since been performed at the University of Illinois and as part of Black Hair's performance at the 2006 Spor-Festival in Århus, Denmark in May. The latter performance was broadcast on Danish national radio, and also in this concert Damien conducted Black Hair in the premiere of Danish composer Christian Christiansen's ensemble work Don't Look Back.
Damien has strongly developed his interest in music theatre. He gave the UK premiere of Vinko Globokar's Ombre for singing drumkit player and electronics at the University of Hudderfield in 2004 in the presence of the composer. In November 2006 Damien was invited to play a semi-theatrical role in Birmingham Contemporary Music Group's production of Kagel's Fürst Igor, Strawinsky staged at Cologne 's Philharmonie Hall.
Damien has given masterclasses and lectures at many international universities and conservatoires including the Royal Northern College of Music, Chautauqua Institute (USA) and the Japan Percussion Festival. He has been a tutor for the COMA summer school since 2005 and is currently percussion tutor at the University of York where he is also in the latter stages of a PhD in composition, studying with Roger Marsh. He was supported throughout the duration of his doctoral studies by the Performing Rights Society Foundation.