Bassoonist Michael Harley’s playing has been called “spectacular” (Washington Post) and “exquisite” (Columbus Dispatch). As a founding member of the contemporary music chamber orchestra Alarm Will Sound, called “one of the most vital and original ensembles on the American musical scene” by the New York Times, Harley has worked with and premiered pieces by many of today’s most accomplished composers, including John Adams, John Luther Adams, Marcos Balter, Derek Bermel, Caleb Burhans, Donnacha Dennehy, Stefan Freund, Michael Gordon, David Lang, Meredith Monk, Nico Muhly, Steve Reich, Roger Reynolds, Kate Soper, Tyshawn Sorey, Wolfgang Rihm, and Augusta Read Thomas.
With Alarm Will Sound, Harley has collaborated with artists including the Dirty Projectors, Medeski, Martin, & Wood, King Britt, Eartheater, and Dance Heginbotham. Other chamber music adventures include the bassoon groups Dark in the Song and the Rushes Ensemble, formed to perform and record Michael Gordon’s concert-length work for seven bassoons, Rushes.
Harley is a graduate of Goshen College (IN), the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and the Eastman School of Music. A dedicated teacher, he teaches bassoon and chamber music at the University of South Carolina, where he also serves as artistic director of the award-winning Southern Exposure New Music Series.