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John Harmon: Book Reading and Solo Piano Performance
Arts + Literature Laboratory
Madison, WI
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Apr 27, 2024 7:00 PM

Admission Level Price Quantity
General Advance Admission $15.00 ($17.39 w/service fee)
General Advance Admission  
Student/ALL Member Advance $10.00 ($12.09 w/service fee)
Student with valid ID, or Current Member Advance Admission  
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John Harmon: Book Reading and Solo Piano Performance
Arts + Literature Laboratory welcomes pianist, composer, and author John Harmon for a book reading, video screening, and live piano solo performance, and Q&A on Saturday, April 27, at 7:00pm. Tickets are $15 general admission, $10 student/ALL Member in advance online, or $20 at the door for everyone.

Harmon will read excerpts from his new book, From the Heart: The Story of Matrix (Cornerstone Press, 2023). In 1974, nine musicians led by Harmon came together in Appleton, Wisconsin, to form Matrix, a jazz fusion ensemble. The group rose to prominence through performances on the festival circuit, including the Monterey Jazz Festival and Newport Jazz Festival, and they recorded acclaimed albums including Matrix IX (1976), Wizard (1978) and Tale of the Whale (1979). From the Heart: The Story of Matrix provides insights into the inner workings of the influential group as Harmon shares his memories of their journey.

The program will also include the world premiere of a 25-minute video for Harmon's Earth Day Portrait. For symphony orchestra, this composition sets eco-ethical quotations from former Madison residents John Muir, Aldo Leopold, and Earth Day Founder Sen. Gaylord Nelson, read by their descendants. A CD recorded by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and conductor Marin Alsop that includes Earth Day Portrait, titled Earth Day Heritage: A Celebration in Words and Music, was released internationally by Albany Records on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day in 2020.

Following the video, Harmon will perform a solo jazz piano set consisting of his own compositions. This will be a wonderful opportunity to hear Harmon perform in the intimate space of our performance gallery.

After a brief Q&A, Harmon will sign copies of From the Heart: The Story of the Matrix, as well as copies of Earth Day Heritage, which will be available for purchase at the event.

CD: Earth Day Heritage: A Celebration in Music and Words

Book: From the Heart: The Story of Matrix (scroll down to "The Back Home Series in Nonfiction" section)

On-site book and CD sales, as well as a portion of ticket sales, will support Earth/Art Resources (E-art-H), which works from the intersection of nature and art toward a sustainable culture. Since its founding in 1998 to celebrate Earth Day values, E-art-H has engaged in eco-cultural projects, including the commissioning of public art works. The first commission was Harmon's Earth Day Portrait in 2001, which premiered at the UW-Madison Wisconsin Union Theater. Consider supporting Earth/Art Resources at this fundraising webpage, facilitated by Create Wisconsin.

About John Harmon:John Harmon's deep interest in nature, environmental issues, and Native Americans provides inspiration for much of his work. His compelling need to raise awareness of Native American culture has inspired him to write six symphonies: Crazy Horse, Wounded Knee, The Legend of SuAnne Big Crow, Standing Rock, Echoes of the Great Plains and Sweetgrass. He has recently finished his seventh symphony to honor the people of Ukraine.  

A native of Oshkosh, WI and graduate of Lawrence University (Appleton, Wisconsin), John Harmon studied in New York with jazz pianist, Oscar Peterson and Belgian composer, Henri Pousseur. Earning his Master of Arts in Composition at State University of New York at Buffalo (SUNY), he worked out east until he was hired in 1971 to create a jazz studies program at Lawrence University. With a core of LU graduates, he founded Matrix, an award-winning jazz nonet which toured the country for nearly 6 years. He recently wrote a book: From the Heart: The Story of Matrix was released September 1, 2023.

Harmon serves as Composer-in-Residence for the Red Lodge Music Festival, artistic director for Fox Jazz Fest, teaches in Door County at a jazz fantasy camp for adults and, since 1982, has served for over forty years as music director/composer-in-residence for the First Presbyterian Church in Winneconne, WI.

Notable recognition includes a Wisconsin Academy of Science, Arts, and Letters Fellowship; two honorary doctorates (Lawrence University and Ripon College); Distinguished Service Awards from  the Wisconsin School Music Association (MSA) and the International Association of Jazz Educators (IAJE). John was featured in Leonard Feathers prestigious Blindfold Test for Downbeat Magazine, and appeared as a guest performer on Marian McPartlands Piano Jazz series.

Johns work combines elements of classical, romantic, and modern music, infusing them with jazz harmonies to create a unique, evocative, distinctly American style. A tireless performer and highly prolific composer, Harmon has been dubbed Wisconsins gentle poet of jazz.


Arts + Literature Laboratory (View)
111 S. Livingston St. #100
Madison, WI 53703
United States


Music > Jazz

Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!


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