Holly Harrison

From Wind Repertory Project
Holly Harrison


Holly Harrison (b. 1988, Sydney, Aus.) is an Australian composer.

Dr. Harrison recently completed a Doctor of Creative Arts degree in composition under the supervision of Bruce Crossman and John Encarnacao at the University of Western Sydney. She graduated from the Bachelor of Music program with the University Medal for outstanding academic achievement and was the recipient of an Australia Postgraduate Award.

Her music is driven by the nonsense literature of Lewis Carroll, embracing stylistic juxtapositions, the visceral energy of rock, and whimsical humor.

Dr. Harrison has worked with the Sydney, Melbourne, Tasmanian, Canberra, West Australian, and Adelaide Symphony Orchestras, as well as the Australian Chamber Orchestra and Australian Youth Orchestra. Her music has been performed by a range of Australian artists including the Australian String Quartet, Australia Ensemble, Ensemble Offspring, Rubiks Collective, Adelaide Wind Orchestra, Riley Lee and Enigma Quartet, Partridge Quartet, Kiazma Piano Duo, Duo Blockstix, and soloists Matthew Kneale, Lloyd Van’t Hoff, and Emma-Shay Gallenti-Guilfoyle. Internationally, she has collaborated with Eighth Blackbird, Alarm Will Sound, Nu Deco Ensemble, Riot Ensemble, Orkest de Ereprijs, Het Gelders Orkest, Ensemble Garage, Peabody Studio Orchestra, and Catchfire Collective. Recently, her work has expanded to include orchestral arrangements for Australian songwriters Tim Minchin and Monique Brumby.

Recent highlights include the trumpet concerto Hellbent for Owen Morris and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra,and the announcement of Splinter as a finalist in the Work of the Year: Large Ensemble category of the 2021 APRA AMCOS Art Music Awards. Other highlights include the Australian Youth Orchestra touring Frumious internationally in 2019, and writing the rock-inspired Balderdash as the set string quartet work for the 2018 Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition. Holly’s Lobster Tales and Turtle Soup featured on Eighth Blackbird’s (USA) Australian tour as part of Musica Viva’s 2017 International Concert Season. Lobster Tales has since been heard across the USA, UK, the Netherlands, Germany, and Sweden.

Harrison is the recipient of numerous awards. She was the inaugural winner of the 2017 Sue W Chamber Music Composition Prize, awarded to an Australian female composer, and was a winner of Nu Deco Ensemble's 2018 Nu Works Initiative. She was awarded first place at the 2014 Young Composers Meeting in Apeldoorn, The Netherlands, chaired by Louis Andriessen, and was the winner of the 2013 Pyeongchon Arts Hall International Chamber Music Composition Competition (South Korea). She was a resident composer at the 2014 Mizzou International Composers Festival (USA) with Alarm Will Sound, and was one of two winners of The Riot Ensemble's (UK) 2014 Call for Scores.

Holly teaches composition at The King’s School and Caroline Chisholm College. She was previously composer in residence at MLC School, Burwood NSW. She is the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra’s composer in residence across 2020 and 2021. In 2021, Holly is also a mentor for Omega Ensemble’s inaugural CoLAB program for pre-professional composers.

Works for Winds


  • Holly Harrison, personal correspondence, June 2023
  • Holly Harrison website Accessed 25 January 2021
  • The Horizon Leans Forward..., compiled and edited by Erik Kar Jun Leung, GIA Publications, 2021, p. 350.