Celebrating John Harbison’s 80th Birthday

February 15, 2019
Exhibit in Memorial Library lobby celebrating John Harbison and his Madison connection on his 80th birthday

Madison Celebrates John Harbison

Madison and Boston are both enriched by the musical presence of Pulitzer Prize winning composer John Harbison. On the occasion of Harbison’s 80th birthday, both cities are celebrating with numerous musical festivities. Harbison feels a strong sense of place to Madison, evident in the long-running Token Creek Chamber Music Festival, which he has co-directed with his wife Rose Mary Harbison for the last 30 years, to his work in the “composition shack” on their Token Creek farm, to drawing inspiration from the local environment.

Jeanette Casey, Head of Mills Music Library, has mounted an exhibit in the Memorial Library lobby of materials highlighting Harbison’s connections to Madison, ranging from scores for works composed and premiered here, concert programs from Madison performances, and many items pertaining to the Token Creek Chamber Music Festival. Other materials include Harbison’s Pulitzer Prize certificate and the full score for The Flight into Egypt, which is the composition for which he won the prize, and his latest book What Do We Make of Bach?

Photocopy manuscript score of John Harbison's Sonata for Viola and Piano

There is also a photocopy manuscript score for his Sonata for Viola and Piano, which he composed for Mead Witter School of Music Artist in Residence and Professor of Viola Sally Chisholm, who will perform the world premiere with pianist Timothy Lovelace as part of a concert happening at 7:30 PM, Sunday, February 17, in Mills Concert Hall in the George L. Mosse Humanities Building, 455 N. Park Street.

The exhibit will remain up throughout February 2019, and is accessible during Memorial Library’s operating hours.

Harbison will be conducting a master class for Mead Witter School of Music Professor Laura Schwendinger’s composition students in the Mills Music Library seminar room on Monday, February 18, 2019, 12:00-1:30 pm.