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 →
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.”
“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
“Awesome writing and very cool music and approach. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like this.”
“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.”
“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.”
“…a beautiful sound artist and musician.”
“Fuck! You were great!”
It’s no surprise that I am a huge music fan. In high school I used to sneak off campus to spend my lunch money on 7″ singles at the local record store, and my Sundays were kept absolutely sacred so that I could listen to all three hours of American Top 40 from beginning to end. I had a huge stack of notebooks in which I carefully kept track of each song in the top 40, its position in the previous week’s chart, and how far it had climbed or fallen that week. Continue reading →
I just released a new video to accompany a track from The Animal Album, “Their Eyes.” The piece was inspired by a Los Angeles Animal Save vigil I attended for the hundreds of pigs being killed at Farmer John’s Slaughterhouse that night. I remain haunted by the expression on the faces of the pigs in those trucks. “Their Eyes” was composed for piano, string quartet, and electronics.
I am so incredibly excited to share that The Animal Album and The Animal Book are available NOW! There are lots of places you can find both of these things so here’s a handy dandy link to find the album, and a handy dandy link to find the book. I am happy for you to purchase, stream, or order the physical book from any of these places, but especially grateful if you order from my Bandcamp page where you get a free album download with book purchase and I can even sign your book if you like! Continue reading →
Last Saturday, I premiered a new piece in the chicken coop of the Warren St. Marks Community Garden. I was invited to be a part of this Garden Theater fest by curator (and good friend) Emerie Snyder. Emerie assembled a variety of artists to create and perform site-specific pieces on the theme of “overlooked details,” and it was a really magical event. I was so proud to be a part of it. Continue reading →
I am so excited to announce that my new single, “Home Again,” has been released out into the world! The track is from my forthcoming album, The Animal Album, and is a dedication to my dog, Corky. She was my friend when I was an adolescent, a gay kid feeling lonely and scared about where I would fit in 1980’s Houston, TX. I still love her so much, and she saw me through such a difficult time. Continue reading →