Celebrated as a leader with “imagination and ambition” by the LA Times and “a pioneer in the use of digital technology” by the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Scott Harrison has secured tens of millions of dollars in funding for cultural organizations nationwide while designing initiatives that are changing artistic practice, music education and community engagement via inclusivity and entrepreneurship. He has led organizations through uncertain times by building compelling cases for their futures, refreshing programming and curriculums, inspiring external and internal stakeholders, adapting to changing environments with resolve, adopting more equitable practices, embracing media opportunities and enhancing local and international visibility.
As executive vice president and provost, Harrison’s portfolio of responsibilities includes the core mission of the institution, ranging from academic to student affairs, preparatory programs to recruitment, and artistic programs to service to the Cleveland community. The role serves as a creative partner to a strategically driven and innovative president – as well as an equally driven and supportive Board of Trustees. Working closely with faculty leadership, Harrison and his team develop, implement and assess forward-thinking initiatives to foster the musical, intellectual, community and artistic development of CIM’s students, faculty and guest artists, while enhancing the Institute’s capacity to prepare CIM graduates for successful futures. Already during his short tenure, he has strengthened relationships with CIM’s key partners, including Case Western Reserve University, The Cleveland Orchestra, Cleveland Institute of Art and Cleveland Museum of Art.
Before joining CIM, Harrison led two distinctive American orchestras through executive transitions, most immediately as interim executive director at the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, where he launched a reimagined season of virtual and socially distanced activity. Recognized by The New York Times and New Yorker for its pandemic programming, the LPO presented over 700 engagements that reached over 70,000 audience members, with collaborators like new creative partner Courtney Bryan, trumpeter/composer Nicholas Payton, violinist Jennifer Koh and Grammy-nominated band Tank and the Bangas. The community responded enthusiastically: a 35% increase in donors and an unprecedented $1M+ in major gifts enabled the LPO to retire its outstanding debt.
As interim executive director of the Hawai’i Symphony Orchestra, Harrison guided the organization to new levels of sustainability, raising $1.5M in under six months and forging new partnerships with Hawaii Opera Theatre and the Hawaii Theatre Center through an integrated cultural, strategic and fundraising plan. During his tenure as executive director of Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Harrison launched the LA Orchestra Fellowship, creating pathways for aspiring Black and Latinx professional musicians in partnership with the Inner City Youth Orchestra of LA and USC Thornton School of Music, and the critically acclaimed SESSION, which married music and movement through a partnership with the immersive theater company Four Larks. He partnered with USC, the Colburn School, CalArts and UCLA on residencies and projects including the Piatigorsky International Cello Festival, Primrose International Viola Competition, Community Arts Partnership and Lift Every Voice festival. As vice president of advancement and external relations and executive producer of digital media at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Harrison developed Live from Orchestra Hall, a global platform for virtual concerts with over one million viewers worldwide, including 100,000 students tuning into specially produced “Classroom Edition” webcasts, while contributing to a widely embraced shift in the orchestra’s relationship to Detroit.
Harrison’s performance and teaching career includes serving as second bassoon of the Irving Symphony and performing with the Indianapolis, Shreveport and Dallas Wind symphonies, and Orchestra of the Americas, as well as teaching and coaching privately and in rehearsals and master classes for organizations across the Western Hemisphere. Deeply committed to arts education as a right and a believer in the power of cultural diplomacy, Harrison is a founding board member of BLUME Haiti, which supports youth and community development with more than 40 partner Haitian music schools, and has helped forge ties with the Colburn School, Interlochen Center for the Arts and Sphinx Organization to further the development of Haitian music students.
A graduate of Northwestern University (BM, bassoon, and BA, political science), Southern Methodist University’s Meadows School of the Arts (MM, bassoon) and executive education programs including National Arts Strategies’ Chief Executive Program and Harvard Business School’s Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management, Harrison has spoken, facilitated and coached for the League of American Orchestras, Tessitura Network, Global Leaders Program, Indiana Public Broadcasting, Classical:Next, Arts Midwest, Association of California Symphony Orchestras and Spanish Association of Symphony Orchestras.