B i o g r a p h y
Sawyer Harrington-Verb (b. 1998) is a composer writing for both media and the concert stage. Drawing inspiration from visual arts and literature, his music has always centered around the art of storytelling, starting from his first orchestral premiere, a tone poem drawing from one of his favorite fables, Abiyoyo. Sawyer has collaborated with the New Britain Museum of American Art on multiple occasions to create pieces for young students based on paintings from the museum’s collection. His tone poem About Flying draws both from classic flying cues from movies and more contemporary minimalist techniques to give the piece a feeling of flight. Sawyer is also a poet, working with singers to create new pieces of art song and musical theater.
Sawyer Harrington-Verb has a passion for collaborating with others, whether this means working with directors to realize their creative vision or by collaborating directly with performers to create a piece that both challenges and excites the musician. Recently, Sawyer composed the score to the Circle Theater Players production of Chuch and State by Jason Odell Williams. Working with director Patrick White, Sawyer's score contained atonal soundscapes, drum and fife music, and even satirical country songs. Working with director David Watson, Sawyer created an original score to the 1903 play The Cherry Orchard. The score blended elements of Russian folk music, Klezmer, and contemporary sounds to create a unique and eccentric soundscape. Sawyer Harrington-Verb continues to work in many forms of media including experimental film, commercial advertising, comedy, and animation.
Sawyer has a keen interest in blending electronic music with live instrumentation and using electronic music as a tool for collaboration. Integrating recordings of performers and their improvisations into works allows Sawyer to shape a piece alongside the performer. Sawyer draws much of his inspiration from his roots as a Jewish songleader. His time studying in Israel and his summers in the Berkshires have given him a unique perspective on music through a Jewish lens.
Recent commissions include pieces for the Four Corners Ensemble, Cellist Benjamin Stayner, and the Hartford All-City Youth Orchestra as well as premieres with the Fresh Inc. Festival and the Hartt School’s Foot in the Door Ensemble. He is currently a composition student of Aaron Helgeson, Gilda Lyons, and Robert Carl at the Hartt School.