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John Harle Biography

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John Harle In-depth Biography

John Harle}'s first instrument was the clarinet, and his teacher on that instrument was Jack Brymer}. At age 13, Harle} expressed to Brymer} the frustration he was experiencing in trying to create the clarinet sound he wanted. Brymer} suggested a switch to the saxophone, which proved a natural fit for Harle}. His skills soon won him admission into the Royal College of Music in London, where he studied until 1980; he supplemented his education with two years at the Paris Conservatoire. Back in London, Harle} made the acquaintance of composer Michael Nyman}, joining the latter's band in 1982; Nyman} eventually supplied Harle} with a full-scale concerto}, entitled Where the Bee Dances}. Through his work with Nyman}, Harle} also gained entry into the world of film and television scores. In 1987, Harle} was named professor of Saxophone and Chamber Music} at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. In 1988 he was the subject of a BBC2} special, "A Man and his Sax"; that same year, the score he co-wrote with Stanley Myers} for the film Prick Up Your Ears} won the Best Achievement in a Feature Film award at Cannes.

By 1991, Harle} was recording for both EMI} and Argo} as a saxophone soloist. Harle}'s work for EMI} reflected his standard concert programs. These included the Debussy} Rhapsodie}, Villa Lobos}' Fantasia} and In the Shadow of the Duke}, Harle}'s tribute to his idol, Duke Ellington} saxophonist Johnny Hodges}. Harle}'s Argo} recordings feature works written by living composers, including Dominic Muldowney}, Gavin Bryars}, Luciano Berio}, and Mike Westbrook}, with Harle} specifically in mind. In 1993, Harle} composed a commercial jingle for Nissan} entitled Nissan Donna}; Jazzy B} of the hip-hop} group Soul II Soul} remixed the tune as a single, which made it to number six on the British pop charts. Harle}'s performance of Harrison Birtwistle}'s Panic at the Last Night of the Proms} in 1995 garnered him a great deal of positive critical attention. Since then, Harle} has concentrated strongly on serious composition in addition to his saxophone playing, concertizing, and film work. In 1996 he collaborated with vocalists Sarah Leonard} and Elvis Costello} on the album Terror and Magnificence}, released on Argo}. The disc went into the top ten in the U.K., and was followed by a brief concert tour the following year. The following year, Harle} contributed to another hit record as part of the arranging staff that worked on Sir Paul McCartney}'s Standing Stone}. The year 1998 witnessed the debut of Harle}'s opera Angel Magick}, based on the life of sixteenth century alchemist {%John Dee}, with a libretto by David Pourtnoy}. Angel Magick} gained some notoriety for its introduction of full frontal nudity to the stage of the Proms.

As a soloist, Harle} has toured worldwide, and claims to be the most recorded classical saxophonist in history. In 2000, Harle} renewed his association with Sir Paul McCartney}, arranging McCartney}'s Nova}, a tribute to the ex-Beatle's late wife, for the memorial benefit album A Garland for Linda}. ~ Uncle Dave Lewis, All Music Guide

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