Allen Harrington is an Associate Professor at the University of Manitoba’s Desautels Faculty of Music where he teaches saxophone, bassoon, and chamber music. As “an extremely fluid player of superb artistry” (Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal), Allen has amazed and delighted audiences with his “honest sound, …radio-active resonance,” (Halifax Chronicle Herald) “considerable virtuosity,” “mellifluous tone,” (Winnipeg Free Press) “fluid and delicate legato, clear phrasing, great agility, and excellent sense of rhythm” (Le Soleil, Québec City). A native of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, he holds degrees from the University of Saskatchewan (B.Mus.) and Northwestern University (M.Mus.)
As an active soloist, recitalist, adjudicator, chamber and orchestral musician, Allen maintains a busy schedule outside of his University teaching career. He has appeared as a soloist with more than a dozen orchestras in Canada, Europe, and South America. He has given countless recitals across Canada and toured with the organizations Debut Atlantic, Prairie Debut, and Home Routes Classical. Over the years he has also frequently been heard on CBC radio.
Allen has had great success at music competitions at the national and international level. He won the Grand Award of the National Music Festival of Canada in 1999, making him only the second saxophonist ever to accomplish that feat. In 2000, he placed first in woodwinds at the Canadian Music Competition finals, and first in chamber music at the National Music Festival. In 2004, he was awarded the Grand Prize at the international Stepping Stone Competition. In 2006 he became the first Canadian and only the second North American ever to reach the final round of the International Adolphe Sax Competition in Dinant, Belgium. He finished in fourth place from a field of 144 of the finest saxophonists in the world under the age of 31, at this largest and most prestigious saxophone competition in the world.
As a bassoonist, Allen was a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Canada in 1998. He has played bassoon and contrabassoon with the Saskatoon and Regina Symphony Orchestras, and is currently a regular extra with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. He plays second bassoon for the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, and is a busy freelancer with other groups in and around Winnipeg.
With his duo partner Laura Loewen (piano) he has performed at three World Saxophone Congresses (Minneapolis 2003, Ljubljana, Slovenia 2006, Bangkok 2009), and many North American Saxophone Alliance Conferences. They have toured across Canada and given recitals in the United States, France, Malaysia, and Brazil. Their first compact disc, Metropolis, featuring Canadian works for saxophone and piano has been released in June 2014.
Photo credit: Stuart Kasdorf Photographics