Harris, Roy, 1898–1979, American composer, b. Lincoln co., Okla. Harris was a pupil of Arthur Farwell and Nadia Boulanger. He began to compose c.1925, ultimately producing more than 200 works. His early compositions displayed the melodic and personal expression that characterizes all his works. His most significant works include his When Johnny Comes Marching Home (1935), a choral work; Symphony for Voices (1936) to poems by Walt Whitman; the Third Symphony (1939); the Folksong Symphony (1940); Cumberland Concerto (1952); and the Seventh Symphony (1952). Outstanding among his numerous works of chamber music is his Piano Quintet (1936).
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Harris, Roy (Ellsworth)(1898–1979) composer; born in Lincoln County, Okla. Taking up music in his twenties, he studied with Nadia Boulanger in Paris (1927–28) and returned to quick success in the U.S.A. He taught in a number of colleges while composing steadily. His Symphony No. 3 (1939), permeated by American folk idioms, was a sensational success and popular through the 1950s; his later music, eventually including 15 symphonies, never quite recaptured the inspiration or success of that highly influential work.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.