Ed Harrison


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Ed Harrison is Principal Timpanist of the Lyric Opera of Chicago and Head of Percussion at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University in Chicago. He is also internationally renowned for his virtuosic performances of contemporary maraca playing.

Ricardo Lorenz wrote Pataruco: Concerto for Maracas and Orchestra specifically for Ed Harrison, whose unique style is responsible for the expansion of the use of maracas in contemporary music, as well as new approaches to established parts in the symphonic and chamber literature.

Pataruco is the first ever concerto for maraca soloist. It premiered in 1999 at Orchestra Hall in Chicago to critical acclaim. It was subsequently performed with the Czech National Orchestra and recorded for Albany Records. In 2008, Ed Harrison performed the concerto with the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra as part of Chicago’s Grant Park Music Festival under the direction of Giancarlo Guerrero.

Pataruco was the first of three maraca concertos written for Ed Harrison. In 2007, Roosevelt University sponsored a competition for the world’s first concerto for maraca soloist with percussion ensemble: Sam Krahn won with his Concerto for Maracas and Percussion Ensemble, a piece premiered by the Chicago College of Performing Arts Percussion Ensemble. George Tantchev composed his Teppa for Maraca Soloist and Eight Percussionists for Ed Harrison, who performed the premiere with the Wichita State University Percussion Ensemble under the direction of Gerald Scholl.

As a timpanist, percussionist, and maraca soloist, Ed Harrison has performed with a variety of prestigious orchestras, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and under the baton of illustrious conductors such as Georg Solti, Leonard Bernstein, Daniel Barenboim, and Pierre Boulez. He is a member of the Chicago Percussion All-stars with drummer Paul Wertico.

Ed Harrison was hired in 1998 at Lyric Opera of Chicago as section percussionist by Bruno Bartoletti. He was appointed Principal Timpanist by current music director Sir Andrew Davis. From 1994 until 1998, Ed also was principal percussionist with the Chicago Sinfonietta. While in Venezuela as Principal Timpanist of the Caracas Philharmonic, he studied with maraca virtuoso Maximo B.Teppa.

Ed Harrison has a Master’s Degree in Music from the New England Conservatory, where he studied with Vic Firth. He attended the Tanglewood Music Center on a Leonard Bernstein Fellowship and returned for a second summer by invitation of the artistic directors. Before becoming Head of Percussion at Chicago College of Performing Arts, Ed Harrison served on the percussion faculties of DePaul University, Northwestern University, and Concordia University. Ed Harrison is a past president of the Percussive Arts Society’s Massachusetts Chapter.

Ed Harrison has published articles in Modern Drummer and Percussive Notes. He is a Zildjian Orchestral Artist and a member of the Vic Firth Education Team.