Jacob Harrison


Jacob Harrison

Director of Orchestral Activities



A versatile conductor, Jacob Harrison is an articulate and committed advocate for the performance of the great symphonic repertoire, opera and musical theater, the music of chamber orchestras, and contemporary music. Since the fall of 2009, Dr. Harrison has served as the Director of Orchestral Activities at Iowa State University where he also teaches conducting. Dr. Harrison moved to Iowa from Phoenix, Arizona.

A sought after clinician and educator, Dr. Harrison is a regular guest conductor and adjudicator for honor ensembles and festivals. In recent years, he has worked with orchestras in Arizona, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, and Texas. In Iowa, he has been the guest conductor for many honor festival orchestras including the Northwest Iowa Honor Orchestra Festival, the Northeast Iowa Honor Orchestra Festival, the Metro Honor Orchestra Festival, and the Iowa Junior Honors Orchestra Festival, and is regularly invited to work with high school orchestra programs across the state.

While living in Phoenix, Dr. Harrison served as Music Director of the North Valley Chamber Orchestra and was a cover conductor for the Phoenix Symphony. Additionally, he guest conducted such groups as the Arizona State University Symphony, Chamber, and Sinfonietta Orchestras, Crossing 32nd Street Contemporary Music Ensemble, the Mill Avenue Chamber Players, the Phoenix Youth Orchestra, the Scottsdale Community Orchestra, the Arizona Repertory Orchestra, the Poston Junior High Orchestra Program in Mesa, and the Highland High School Orchestra Program in Gilbert.

In 2007, Harrison was appointed Resident Conductor of the Chapparal Music Festival, a new music festival in Prescott, Arizona. A passionate supporter of music that is created for our time, he continues to work with many composers and has commissioned and premiered numerous musical works for orchestras, wind ensembles and a wide variety of chamber ensembles. Harrison was also a regular guest conductor with the Arizona Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME) throughout his time in Arizona.

Dr. Harrison is equally at home conducting opera and music theater as he is conducting contemporary music and the great symphonic literature. He has worked with the Arizona Lyric Opera Theatre and ISU Opera Studio and conducted productions of Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle, Bernstein's Candide, Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd, and was the assistant conductor for Strauss’s Ariadne auf naxos.

Dr. Harrison graduated from Arizona State University in 2009 with a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Orchestral Conducting. At ASU, he was a teaching assistant where was the Director of the ASU Sinfonietta Orchestra. He studied orchestral and opera conducting with Timothy Russell and William Reber.

Jacob and his wife, Kathleen, reside in Ames, Iowa with their son.