Howard Harris Bio

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Howard C. Harris, Jr., Dr. of Musical Arts, is an arts pioneer, composer, performing artist and world-revered music educator. He serves as Professor of Music and Founder and Director Emeritus of Jazz Studies at Texas Southern University (TSU).  Harris came to Houston and TSU through the invitation of Benjamin J. Butler II, who enlisted him as an associate director and musical arranger for the world famous “Ocean of Soul" Marching Band, 1971 through 1981. He also founded The People's Workshop, the first multi-cultural arts organization of Houston to present in the city's major performing arts venues.

Harris, a published composer and author, is featured in the Schrimer-published book, African American Music: An Introduction, by Earl Stewart. With co-author William Fielder of Rutgers University, he wrote The Complete Book of Improvisation/Composition and Funk Techniques, the first book of its kind to tie in scripture and biblical principles with the art of jazz improvisation.

The Complete Book... is quoted in other books on music. Additionally, Howard Harris is the sole American Houstonian of color whose works have been performed by the Houston Symphony Orchestra. Other orchestras that have performed his works include the Baltimore, New Orleans, Fort Worth and Savannah symphonies. His works as a creative writer also include multi-disciplinary stage works that have been performed nationally and internationally.

His educational background includes undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate study at Southern University, Louisiana State University, and University of North Texas respectively. His training in music composition also includes private study with William Fisher in New York, and Oliver Nelson in Los Angeles.

Howard Harris is a dedicated family man. He's the father of two children, six grandchildren and seven great grandchildren from his marriage to the late Betty Jean White-Harris. He's now married to Cheryl Yvonne Brown-Harris, the mother of their only child and son, Austin-Sinclair Vashawn Harris. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana during the 1940's, Howard Harris is the son of his late parents, Howard Harris, Sr. and Leola Mims-Harris.

Insightful Quotes


God breathes through us so completely…so gently we hardly feel it….Yet, it is our everything…

…John Coltrane

If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn.

…Charlie Parker

Music is the language of God! Musicians are as close to God as Man can be. We hear his Voice...We read his Lips!


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