Heralded a “bold, emergent, personality” by the Philadelphia Inquirer, bassoonist Harrison Hollingsworth is widely regarded as one of the premier wind players of his generation, and holds the principal bassoon chair of the New York City Ballet at Lincoln Center. Originally from Kingwood, TX, Harrison is a graduate of The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, PA where he held the Sheldon Bonovitz Fellowship and studied with both Bernard Garfield and Daniel Matsukawa, the retired and current principal bassoonists of the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Harrison is also a conductor. He has guest conducted on multiple subscription concerts for the NYCB Orchestra, and he holds the David Alan Miller Conducting Fellowship for the New York Youth Symphony, where he serves as Assistant Conductor. He is also a graduate of The Mannes College for Music, where he received his Master’s in Orchestral Conducting under David Hayes. Under a grant from The Williamson Foundation for Music, Harrison has also studied orchestral conducting with Michael Jinbo at the Pierre Monteux School.
In addition to serving as principal bassoon for the New York City Ballet, Harrison formerly held the Eileen McManimen principal bassoon chair for Symphony in C (formerly Haddonfield Symphony), where he has also served as program annotator and first violinist. An advocate for new music both on the podium and in the recital hall, Harrison has premiered multiple new works for bassoon, including Teddy Abrams’ Bassoon Sonata, of which he is the dedicatee.
Also an enthusiastic chamber musician, he has performed at the Kingston Music Festival and the Central Vermont Chamber Music Festival, and is a founding bassoonist of Reed5 and founding bassoonist/violinist of the Sixth Floor Trio, which inaugurated its own annual chamber music festival in partnership with Fairchild Gardens in Miami in March 2012, and were the recipients of a substantial grant from the Knight Foundation to perform Random Acts of Culture across the United States in 2011-2012.
As a soloist, Harrison is on the roster of Astral Artists, which sponsored his professional recital debut in 2009. He has played concertos with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Symphony in C, the Clear Lake Symphony, and many other orchestras. He has also been featured in recital on WHYY ARTS television series – “On Stage at Curtis,” NPR’s syndicated radio show “From the Top,” and WHYY 91 FM Radio’s “Showcase,” which broadcast the radio premier of his brass choir composition “Fanfare and Contrapunctus.” His bassoon playing can also be heard on Arturo Ripstein’s new film Las Razones del Corazon.
Now based in New York, Harrison pursues many activities. He is an original member of the Mimesis Ensemble (with whom he made his Kennedy Center conducting debut). He works as a freelance conductor in NYC, conducting recording sessions at Avatar Studios as well as serving as a clinician for various orchestras (most recently, the Westchester Area All-State Orchestra), and has played as principal bassoonist with the Long Island Philharmonic, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the Phantom of the Opera Orchestra, Gotham Chamber Opera, and the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, and has taught bassoon and chamber music for the Chautauqua Music Festival. Also an avid fiddler, Harrison plays with the Brooklyn roots string band Union Street Preservation Society, which released its debut album in July 2011.