Take your choral ensemble to the next level with clinician extraordinaire and master teacher, Dr. Robert A. Harris. Professor Emeritus at the Northwestern University Bienen School of Music (Evanston, IL), Dr. Harris has been hailed as "one of the finest choral trainers and conductors" and a master at "helping singers make grand works of music sound sublime."   Dr. Harris is committed to advancing the art of singing and is a specialist in motivating singers. Dr. Harris can tailor a clinic to achieve excellence in blend, pitch, rhythm, or whatever aspect you choose.  For additional references, please visit the "Testimonials" page. 

Dr. Harris invites you to peruse his compositions and arrangements, some  of which include recordings.  If you only have a few moments, below you can enjoy selections from "Gloria," the pièce de résistance for chorus and orchestra Dr. Harris composed in 2006.  Thanks for your interest and consideration. 

About Robert A. Harris

Robert A. Harris, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus at Northwestern University's Bienen School of Music (Evanston, IL), served as Director of Choral Organizations and Professor of Conducting at the Northwestern University Bienen School of Music from 1977 to 2012. Prior to Northwestern, Dr. Harris taught at Michigan State University, where he served as Director of Choral Activities from 1970 to 1977, and at Wayne State University (Detroit, Michigan) from 1964-1970. He also has held visiting professorships at Wayne State University, the University of Texas (Austin) and the University of South Africa in Pretoria.

Dr. Harris is active as a conductor, choir clinician, and adjudicator, having appeared in these capacities throughout the United States and abroad. Dr. Harris served as Director of the Milwaukee Symphony Chorus for the 2016-17 season.*  In June 2016, he served as guest conductor of the Carolina Coast Festival Chorus and Orchestra’s Spring Festival.  Performances of the Faure “Requiem” and Sacred Music of 20th and 21st century American composers were held in New Bern and Jacksonville, North Carolina. In November 2016, Dr. Harris served as guest conductor with the Wayne State University Choral Union and Symphony Orchestra (Detroit, Michigan) in a performance of the Brahams “Ein deutches Requiem.”

Internationally, Dr. Harris served as one of two guest conductors and clinicians for the Taipei Philharmonic Choral and Conducting Workshop in the Republic of China. He also served as guest conductor for Korea's premier professional choir, the Inchon City Chorale, guest conductor of a Choral Festival Youth Chorale in Hong Kong, and presented lectures and conducting master classes throughout South Africa on two separate occasions. In Argentina, Dr. Harris presented lectures and master classes on African American spirituals.   In March 2013, he presented master classes on spirituals for the American Cantat VII Music Festival.

As a composer, Dr. Harris has been the recipient of over forty commissions from schools, churches and musical organizations. His compositions, especially those of the choral genre, have been performed throughout the United States, Europe, Hong Kong, and in South Africa. His published works currently appear in the catalogs of Oxford University Press, Morning Star, Boosey and Hawkes, Walton Music, Alliance Music, Mark Foster and J.S. Paluch.

Awards and honors for Harris include an Alumni Arts Achievement Award in Music from Wayne State University and the 2000-2001 Northwestern University School of Music's Faculty Exemplar Teaching Award. Harris was one of three University professors to receive a Northwestern University Alumni Association Excellence in Teaching Award for the 2001-2002 academic year. Harris served for three years as a member of the Choral Panel of the National Endowment for the Arts and twice functioned as the Panel's co-chair. Biographical entries include Who's Who Among Black Americans, Men of Achievement (London), and Who's Who in America. A video Oral History interview of Harris has been made a permanent part of the History Makers Collections at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.

Dr. Harris received his education from Wayne State University in Detroit, the Eastman School of Music, and earned his doctorate from Michigan State University in composition and theory. He has been active as a church music director throughout his career, currently serving Winnetka (IL) Congregational Church as Director of Music and Choirmaster. He is a life member of the American Choral Directors Association and an active member of Chorus America.

Major Choral Performances

 Adams, John              Harmonium* 
 Bach, C.P.E.                 Magnificat in D Major
 Bach, J. S.                     Cantata No. 4 Christ lag in todesbanden                 
   Cantata No. 79 Gott der Herr ist Sonn und Schild         
    Cantata No. 140 Wachet auf, Ruft Uns die Stimme         
    Cantata No. 142 Uns ist ein Kind geboren      
    Magnificat in D Major
     Mass in b minor
   Motet 1 Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied
    Motet 2 Der Geist hilft unsrer Schwachheit auf
   Motet 3 Jesu, meine Freude
   Motet 5 Komm Jesu, Komm
Motet 6 Lobet den Herrn alle Heiden
   Passion According to St. John
   Sanctus in D, BWV 238
Barber, Samuel         Agnus Dei (Adagio)
   Prayers of Kierkegaard

  Works in bold performed with orchestra or other instrumental ensemble

*Prepared chorus only (Chorusmaster); not conducted in performance

Major Choral Performances

Barnett, Carol                The World Beloved:  A Bluegrass Mass

Beethoven, L. van          Mass in C, Op. 86

                                          Missa Solemnis in D major

                                          Symphony No. 9 (last movement)*

Berger, Jean                    Magnificat

Berkey, Jackson              Arma Lucis

Bernstein, Leonard        Chichester Psalms**

Blackford, Richard          Mirror of Perfection**

Bloch, Ernest                   Avodath Hakodesh (Sacred Service)

Brahms, Johannes          Ein Deutsches Requiem

                                           Gypsy Songs, Op. 103

                                           Liebselieder Waltzer, Op. 52

                                           Neue Liebeslieder Waltzer, Op. 65

* Prepared chorus (Chorusmaster) not conducted in performance

** Conducted American premier



Motet, Op. 29 No. 1  Es ist das Heil uns kommen her

Motet, Op 29 No. 2  Schaffe in mir, Gott, ein rein Herz

Motet, Op. 74,  No. 2 O Heiland reiss die Himmel auf

Nanie, Op. 82

Rhapsody for Alto and Male Chorus

Schicksalslied, Op. 54

Thee Festival Pieces for Double Chorus, Op. 109

Vier Gesange, Op. 17


A Ceremony of Carols

Missa Brevis

Hymn to St. Cecelia

Saint Nicholas

War Requiem*

Major Choral Performances 

BROWN, JONATHAN     Legacy of Vision: Martin Luther King

                    BUCCI, MARK  The Wondrous Kingdom

        BUXTEHUDE, D   Missa Brevis

                    CHERUBINI, LUIGI,     Requiem Mass in C Minor

Major Choral Performances

Major Choral Performances

Major Choral Performances

Major Choral Performances

Major Choral Performances

Major Choral Performances

Major Choral Performances

Major Choral Performances

Major Choral Performances


Barber, Samuel                  Adagio for Strings

Hindemith, Paul                Martinslied

Schoenberg, Arnold        Pierrot Lunaire

Wilson, Olly                       Sextet

                    MUSICAL THEATER

Carr and Shuman            The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Schwartz, Stephen           Godspell

Ahrens and Flaherty        Once On This Island


                               AMP: Alliance Music Publications Inc./B&H: Boosey and Hawkes/MFS: Mark Foster (Shawnee)/NCP: Not commercially published/OUP: Oxford Univ. Press                                                                          


               AMP: Alliance Music Publications Inc./B&H: Boosey and Hawkes/MFS: Mark Foster (Shawnee)/NCP: Not commercially published/OUP: Oxford Univ. Press/WMC: Walton Music Co.             


                                    B&H: Boosey and Hawkes/JSP: J.S. Paluch Co., Inc./KJOS: KJOS Music Co./MFS: Mark Foster (Shawnee)/NCP: Not commercially published/OUP: Oxford Univ. Press/WMC: Walton Music Co.                    


AMP: Alliance Music Publications, Inc/B&H: Boosey and Hawkes/JSP: J.S. Paluch Co./KJOS: KJOS Music Co./MFS: Mark Foster (Shawnee)/NCP: Not commercially published/OUP: Oxford Univ. Press/WMC: Walton Music Co.


Teaching to the Choir (2005)



Journal Sentinel (2016)


"Almost Speechless!

 . . . How could we help but give back the energy, solemnity, pathos, or perhaps joy we saw in Dr. Harris' eyes, facial expressions and articulate hands.  . . . In my opinion he demonstrated  gifts of an exceptional musician, composer, conductor, and teacher, and also shard with us the gentle soul of an artist, helping us to open our hearts and our voices to new possibilities."   T. Porter (2016)

Chicago a cappela Tribute Award:

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Photo Gallery

Young Robert

Robert and former student Charlotte Sass (December 2014) 

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