Tag Archives: Michael Allen Harrison

Music Forward

29 Nov

Since  it’s birth as Vanport Extension Center in 1946, the university which is now Oregon’s largest has played a role in the education of tens of thousands of individuals.  Among those are thousands who have gone on to make the arts a central part of their lives.

It has been my pleasure to discover and share with readers of this blog over the past month the stories of just a few of those individuals.  Obviously I have only scratched the surface of the many PSU Music alumni who are putting into practice the lessons, values and experiences gained in there time at Portland State.  There are hundreds more stories to tell, with new ones being created every day.

As time goes on, I will endeavor in this blog  to provide more glimpses into the activities and accomplishments of some of our current and former  music students, in the hopes of encouraging all of us  to believe in the power of putting Music Forward.

Darrell Grant


2011 Best New Artist Grammy winner Esperanza Spalding studied at PSU.


Pianist/Composer and ‘Ten Grands” creator Michael Allen Harrison studied at PSU.


Pianist/composer and WOU Jazz professor Gordon Lee got his Masters degree at PSU.


Prizewinning classical guitarist and member of the Oregon Guitar Quartet Jessie McCann received his M.M. at PSU studying under Bryan Johanson.


Metropolitan Opera soloist Audrey Luna received a B.M. in Voice at PSU 


Portland Opera soloist and PSU voice professor Angela Niederloh received her B.M. at PSU. 


Jazz bassist, orchestra musician and bass instructor  Tim Gilson received his undergraduate degree at PSU.


These are just a few of the many, many PSU alums putting Music Forward around the world.  Look for more posts to come…


November 10th: The Rocker

10 Nov

Portland State Music: 30 for the 30th

Name: Aaron Meyer

Instrument: violin

Student of Carol Sindell

 M.Ed.-2000 Portland State University

Putting Music Forward

Aaron Meyer plugs in- which is unusual for a violinist.  Not, however, for a Concert Rock Violinist whose music bridges world, contemporary progressive rock and classical genres. The flavors in Aaron’s  music depict “a piece of each cultural experience from every village, every Island, every colorful place he has encountered.”


Putting Skills to Work

After studying classical violin from age 5, and debuting with the Philadelphia Orchestra at 11,  Aaron Meyer  closed his  violin case 8 years later and started down a new path.  An undergraduate degree in Natural Science from Lewis & Clark College led to an 11-month journey into some of the most remote regions of Southeast Asia and the South Pacific which ultimately inspired him to create a unique style of original music combining world, contemporary progressive rock and classical influences.  Upon returning from his life changing adventure in Southeast Asia, Aaron completed his Masters Degree from Portland State University.  Aaron then joined the band Pink Martini and recorded on their debut CD, Sympathique (which has sold over 700,000 copies world wide).  He performed with Pink Martini for almost 2 years; shortly thereafter he began composing his own original music and released his first solo CD “Near The Edge”.   Aaron has performed with major international symphony orchestras and ballet companies, composed and arranged for the platinum selling band Everclear, created music for PBS specials and Microsoft commercials. performed songs for the World Peace Conference. and played on stage with the Dalai Lama.  His nine albums include his latest entitled “The Journey…not the Destination” which features Aaron’s latest compositions and arrangements inspired by his passion for world travel and culture.



Adding Something Unique

Aaron generously donates to causes he believes in and is very active in his own local community as well as worldwide organizations.  He plays regularly at auctions and charity events including International Medical Teams, American Lung Cancer Association, Salud Pinot Noir Charity auction, Doernbecher hospital, and much more.  One very special and memorable highlight was when Aaron performed at an orphanage in Cambodia in association with Holt International, an adoption agency based in Oregon.  He was asked to perform with the Bangkok Symphony after they learned of his Tsunami benefit concert in Phuket, Thailand that contributed over $10,000.00USD to rebuild a local school damaged by this catastrophic event.  Each year, Aaron visits dozens of schools all over the Pacific Northwest, presenting assembly style educational music programs, workshops and assisting in creating CDs of student-written songs. He  works with youth orchestras and conducts his own annual, music education summer camp.  You can learn more about Aaron’s many activities at www.aaronmeyer.com.


What Has Your PSU Music Experience Meant to You?

“I’m grateful to PSU for giving me the tools to be a better teacher and more accomplished violinist.  PSU has an amazing set of teachers and also an international student body.  I benefitted from the education and music departments greatly.  I am thankful that I went to school at PSU.”