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Fanfare Contributor Bio

James Harrington

I have been a performing pianist for 60 years, and have been listening to recordings even longer. My earliest memory of records began with a crank-up player and putting on a very thick kid’s 78. Thousands of LPs, tapes, and CDs later I still look forward to every new recording and always have a wish list.

Growing up in northern New York, there were few concerts to attend. I have memories of Community Concerts and the Syracuse Symphony which allowed me to hear artists like Stokowski, Fiedler, William Warfield, Earl Wild, and Gina Bachauer in my teens. My college years near Buffalo (Michael Tilson Thomas) and later in Philadelphia (Eugene Ormandy and Riccardo Muti) expanded my concert experiences greatly. I settled in northern New Jersey back in the 1980s and have a quick trip into New York City. I have reviewed many concerts at the great venues in the city and, closer to home, at the NJ Performing Arts Center in Newark.

I have a BA is in Music History and Theory, and did graduate work in Musicology. I have had a lightweight performance career, mostly as a collaborative pianist and chamber musician. I have been a music director at a dinner theater and at a couple of Episcopal churches. My abilities on a big organ are those of a pianist with two left feet. I played keyboards with the Haddonfield Symphony Orchestra for 13 years—last one was Alan Gilbert’s first year as a music director. After several years working for Sam Goody’s, I returned to school for computer programming. That proved to be a good and rewarding move. Since 1985 I have been working full time with administrative computer software in NJ public school districts. This has allowed me to keep active in music without having to try and earn a living in the field.

My wife is a singer and voice teacher whom I have accompanied since we were freshmen in college when I was assigned to her. We have two daughters, adopted from China and Vietnam. As we near our 50th anniversary, I accompany her students and we enjoy music every day. I have even learned a couple of new piano pieces during the pandemic.

 

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