During his first months with LACO, Harrison joined with board leadership to develop a strategic framework for impact across four pillars — concerts, accessibility and diversity, learning and creating, and innovation and entrepreneurship – that continues to foster a creative spirit of programming and decision-making within the organization while helping to grow the earned revenue base and philanthropic support. Last season resulted in the largest gift in LACO history, a record-breaking 50th Anniversary Gala, new sources of foundation and public support, and full houses for new concert offerings in Pasadena, Santa Monica and downtown’s Arts District.
The 2017-18 season featured the launch of two ground-breaking initiatives, both the result of internal collaboration across the Orchestra’s stakeholder groups and alliances with outside partners. The first was the launch of the LA Orchestra Fellowship, a joint initiative with the Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles and the USC Thornton School of Music that promotes diversity and equity in the classical music sphere through the training of four early-career musicians from underrepresented communities, who in addition to being mentored by LACO musicians and USC faculty, also serve as mentors for a generation of young musicians of color from ICYOLA. The second was the debut of SESSION, a collection of composer-curated evenings in unexpected locations dissolving barriers between artists and audience. The first, sold-out performance was crafted by LACO Creative Advisor Andrew Norman working alongside the production design team from Four Larks, who now return in the 2018-19 season for three more SESSION experiences with Derrick Spiva Jr, LACO’s newly-appointed Artist Educator; Matthias Pintscher; and Christopher Rountree. The 50th Anniversary season also featured packed-house performances of the Brandenburg Concertos across Los Angeles and Orange counties, world premieres or commissions by Ellen Reid, Derrick Spiva Jr and Pierre Jalbert, and the appointment of the electrifying Jaime Martín as the Orchestra’s sixth music director.
Harrison came to LACO after serving as vice president of advancement and external relations at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, raising $18 million annually while developing strategies to build the DSO’s local and global reputation. In 2011, while serving as executive producer of digital media, Harrison launched the Live from Orchestra Hall webcast series, watched in more than 100 countries by 750,000 viewers, with an additional 100,000 students tuning into specially-produced “Classroom Edition” webcasts. With a focus on cultivating new audiences, his DSO project leadership included record-selling Beethoven and Tchaikovsky festivals; outdoor concert projections for Midtown’s Dlectricity festival; the city-wide crowd-sourced composition
Symphony in D; the @ the Max alternative performance series; and the Orchestra’s first-ever Diversity and Inclusion Task Force.
Having previously worked for the Indianapolis, New Jersey, Boston and Dallas symphony orchestras, Harrison holds degrees in bassoon and political science from Northwestern University – where he was recently elected to the political science department’s Alumni Hall of Fame – and Southern Methodist University’s Meadows School of the Arts. Deeply committed to music education as a right and a fervent believer in the power of cultural diplomacy, he serves as a founding board member of BLUME Haiti, an organization that works with Haitian and International partners to develop leadership skills in young musicians and create opportunities for social and civic change through music. In March 2017, he helped implement the inaugural National Orchestra Institute in Haiti alongside musicians from the Utah Symphony, which will now be held for the third time in March 2019. He also serves as a professional advisor to Chicago-based Fifth House Ensemble and has lectured and presented for the League of American Orchestras, Arts Midwest, Tessitura Network, Association of California Symphony Orchestras, Wayne State University and Spanish Association of Symphony Orchestras. Harrison is a graduate of National Arts Strategies Chief Executive Program: Community and Culture, which brought together 50 arts executives from 34 states and 18 countries who are working to lead change in their organizations, communities and the global cultural field.
Harrison lives in downtown Los Angeles with his wife Angela, a fundraising consultant, and their young daughter, who looks forward to her weekly dose of music, ballet, soccer and gymnastics classes.