Wednesday, October 20, 2010


* * * Best enjoyed with headphones, or really good speakers * * *


Swarm is a piece based on the idea of clouds or swarms of sound. It was composed using the Kurzweil K2000 synthesizers in the historic EMS studio at the University of Illinois.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The same water that ebbs...

<a href="">The same water that ebbs... by Leon Harrell</a>
"The same water that ebbs…" is a line from the poem "The Heart of the Buddha" by Hsu Yun.
No need to chase back and forth like the waves. The same water which ebbs is the same water that flows. No point turning back to get water When it's flowing around you in all directions The heart of the Buddha and the people of the world... Where is there any difference?
This piece is the first piece I have completed after a long creative drought. I wanted to create a piano piece that borrowed the technical agility found in Ravel’s Sonatine and also use a harmonic language that progressed beyond Impressionist harmonies yet retained the rich quality and warmth found in the piano works of that period. Although I found the poem after finishing the work I think it captures the process of the piece’s creation. For many weeks I worked not knowing what to do with this piece and wondering if I would ever feel the same way about composing after such a long period of not writing. But during the process I was reminded that often when you don’t know what to do you must allow yourself to just work. Like the water in the poem our creative spirit ebbs and flows, yet it is always around us. I just got my recording for my latest piece that was performed. To hear it click here. A special thank you goes to the pianist, and fellow composer, Juri Seo for doing an excellent job on this recording.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


* * * Best enjoyed with headphones, or really good speakers * * * <a href="">Airborne by Leon Harrell</a>
Airborne As a composer of electroacoustic music I create pieces that take advantage of the stereo field and create a true sense of depth. Airborne is the second piece I have composed that is geared towards this idea. The main goal of the piece was to create a piece centered around flying sounds, sounds that not only move left and right but all around you as you listen. This study in 2-channel environment building sets up a large environment, hones in one a single moving sound source and midway through the piece bursts apart at the seams. Airborne was composed at the historic EMS studio at the University of Illinois.