Brooklyn-based composer and performer Michael Harren combines elements of classical composition with experimental electronics and storytelling to create hypnotic and boldly intimate work that walks the line between Laurie Anderson, Peter Gabriel and Dead Can Dance. He is artist-in-residence at Tamerlaine Farm Animal Sanctuary where he created the solo multi-media theater pieceThe Animal Show, which premiered in New York City in 2016 and continues to be performed in venues throughout the United States.

In his first solo show, Tentative Armor, he combined piano, synthesizers, various electronics, and live musicians with his unique storytelling, resulting in a deeply moving, highly entertaining performance. Through his resonant, powerful, very personal stories, Harren envelops the audience in a funny, poignant, highly intimate tour of his own self-discovery through spirituality, sexuality, and grief. Music, text and photos from the show were released in an album and book of the same name.

Michael Harren has toured as pianist with Sandra Bernhard, is the musical director for Cabaret for a Cause, and has performed at Dixon Place, (le) poisson rouge, Joe’s Pub, Judson Memorial Church, Manhattan Theater Source, The Duplex, Don’t Tell Mama, The Laurie Beechman Theater as well as numerous venues around the country. Michael is a Moogfest artist who presented No Permission Needed: Create with Senator Jaiz at Moogfest 2017.

“Michael Harren brings you brilliant piano stylings, a firm sense of the absurd, and a genuine originality that is refreshing and honest, and he’s a very lovely man.”
Sandra Bernhard

“Harren’s work takes the science of a composer like Eno, and the spirit of a composer like Oldfield, and combines the two in a bold display of human dichotomy.”
Replicant Ears Magazine

“Magical!”
Eve Beglarian

“Awesome writing and very cool music and approach. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like this.”
Christopher Willits

“There are few artists out there presenting their work with such a wonderful mix of courage and care, with a never ending eye toward giving the audience a wonderful experience and a sublime uniqueness of voice.”
Adam Fitzgerald

“When Michael Harren’s writing isn’t smart and hilarious, it’s emotionally devastating. He is both a gifted musician and a great man. I am lucky to have worked with him.”
Steven Strafford

“…a beautiful sound artist and musician.”
Gardiner Comfort

“Fuck! You were great!”
Ed Asner

New Video – Wake Up In New York

I recorded this cover of Craig Armstrong’s “Wake Up In New York” back in April of 2019 and somehow never managed to get it edited. It was a little bit of a challenge to myself to improvise on the piano and sing this simple, yet highly emotional song. It’s got some things I love and, honestly, some things I don’t. I’m really interested in working and learning as I do things, and this means letting them be imperfect and sharing them anyway. All in all, I’m really proud of this!

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New Life - Michael Harren

New Life

It turns out that releasing music as an independent artist is even more challenging during a global pandemic. Who knew?

The months of March and April were especially challenging here in New York City. March started out normally enough, mostly because none of us were paying close enough attention to the beginnings of this pandemic around the world. Suddenly, over the course of one weekend, I started getting notified that my freelance teaching gigs were shutting down one by one, and it no longer felt safe to teach, perform, or even go pick up almond milk at the corner bodega.

I spent those two months mostly stunned and paralyzed. Snacks and movies. . . and guilt.

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Michael Harren, Kiirstin Marilyn, Jay Light, Lauren Maul, and aimee iris brown

Community + Service + Art

Last night was the second in my new regular series of shows at Judson Memorial Church, The Benevolent People’s Hour of Story and Song. It was an absolute blast! I am doing these shows quarterly now, in the very spot where I did my first performance of my solo work. It’s an absolute gift to get to perform in that space regularly now.

Lauren Maul, Jay Light, aimee iris brown, and Kiirstin Marilyn were my guests who featured everything from hop-hop and house music to impressionistic ballads to minimalist film and just about every stop in between.

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Reflections on this big-ass lump I have in my throat after leaving Patrecon

When I was a kid I loved to make stuff. I made theater shows in my bedroom with my Smurf figurines, a clip-on desk lamp, and a scrim made from my polyester Dracula cape left over from Halloween. Even though I didn’t know how to play yet, I gave piano recitals for my family. The little songs were wheezed out on my 1970s era orange chord organ. I made stop motion films with the Super 8 camera I got for Christmas with my friend Andy, complete with title cards that listed us as cast and crew. When my sister and I played “house” on rainy days, I was always coming home late from my gig at the nightclub, just like Linda Lavin did on Alice. That’s just the beginning of the list, but suffice it to say I always found a way to create something to share with others and it always brought me joy. Continue reading →

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