Donald Harris Portrait PhotoDonald Harris served as an administrator and faculty member at the New England Conservatory from 1967-1977. Harris left NEC to go to the Hartt School of Music where he served as Chair of the Theory and Composition Department as well as Composer in Residence for three years. Then in 1980, Harris was named Dean of the School, succeeding Donald Mattran. He remained in this position until 1988, when he left to become Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Music at Ohio State University.  In 1997, Harris stepped down as dean and rejoined the OSU faculty in composition.

Donald Harris earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in composition from the University of Michigan, where he studied with Ross Lee Finney. From there Harris went to Paris where he studied with Nadia Boulanger. Also while in Paris, Harris was a music consultant to the United States Information Service, and he produced the city’s first postwar Festival of Contemporary American Music. Harris’s other teachers included Lukas Foss, Boris Blacher, and Max Deutsch, a student of Arnold Schoenberg.

Included among Harris’s numerous commissions are: the Serge Koussevitzky Music Foundation, the Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Foundation in the Library of Congress, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Radio France, and the Cleveland Orchestra.  Harris was the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship (1956) and a Guggenheim Fellowship (1966), and an ASCAP Deems Taylor award (1989). In 1991, Harris was honored with an award in composition from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, which led to a retrospective recording of his work on the CRI label in 1994.  His music has been published in France by Editions Jobert and in the United States by Theodore Presser and GUNMAR music.  Harris was also co-editor of the W.W. Norton publication of the correspondence between Alban Berg and Arnold Schoenberg.

Physical description

This collection consists of .6 lin. ft or half of a record carton.  This collection is limited to paper files (113 folders).


This collection was generated by Donald Harris during his tenure at NEC as Assistant to the President and Vice President.  These materials had been kept in storage until they were transferred to the Archives in 2004.


Access to the Donald Harris Collection is granted by the Archivist or Director of
Libraries.  Appointments must be scheduled in advance. There may be some restrictions on this collection, particularly the involving the faculty files and subject files. Issues of access will be addressed on a case by case basis.


All copyrights to this collection belong to the New England Conservatory.
Permission to publish materials from this collection is granted by the Director of Libraries. This collection should be cited as: Donald Harris Collection in the Archives at New England Conservatory of Music, Boston.