Meet our artist, composer Andrew Kear Harrod

Hello, my name is Andrew Harrod. I’m 63
years old, I’m from North London and I’m a professional musician and have been
involved with music all my life. My family moved to the Peak District in the
60s, so I spent 10 very happy years around there; studying music, going
through school learning instruments and singing and composing. I went to Leeds
College of Music. I then went on to study Contemporary Music at Huddersfield
and on to do a teaching qualification at Birmingham university. But it hasn’t stopped
there, I’ve continued studying, as it’s very much part of my makeup of my
musical career, and I’ve been to the Institute of Education and done a
Masters. So, I’ve followed a somewhat portfolio
career of doing different things at different times but all being related to
music – I mean very, very lucky. It’s composition time now, because for me I’ve
got more time to actually follow what is my real interest and passion and has
been for a long, long time. However, all the other things I do in my career,
throughout my career, have all been connected they’ve all been on to the
same roundabout with different roads; arranging, studying, teaching, running departments,
performing, being a session musician. I’ve had a very varied career
and now I’m on a very much the composition highway, and I’m really
enjoying it. This goes back to my family back in
London, and my father at the time when I was born was a musician part-time, and a
pretty good guitarist. He was learning and studying, but he was a good singer
and there was a lot of activity around the house, with musicians coming and
going, and there was a band and I do remember them rehearsing and playing
popular songs and dance music of the day. But I also remember the radio being a
constant factor with its various types of music and a big record collection and
a piano in the house, which was fantastic. So, we’ve always had a sort of a
soundtrack of music going on throughout our young lives. My first instrument was the saxophone
and it was jazz that really took me to that instrument, and particularly the work
of Dave Brubeck Quartet and their superstar saxophonist Paul Desmond.
I really adored that sound and I just had to have some of that and I got an
instrument and I practiced and I really got quite good on saxophone. Then the
double bass came along and that was the key to the world really because my
father wanted an accompanist in his band and I learnt the double bass, that took me
into all sorts of worlds of orchestral playing – folk music, jazz – and I still play
the double bass to this day, not as much as I should! And then I discovered that
the piano pretty much do everything that I wanted to do in music so I spent most
of my time practicing and playing the piano with a sort of composition. Composition has always fascinated me as
a sort of concept of creativity. In the sense that it’s going to be a sound
world, but it’s also going to be written, it’s also going to tell a story, it’s
also going to have a range of emotions which will touch people in different
ways, depending on the purpose of the composition and where it’s composed. So, I’ve
always had this fascination with composition. Making a living – I think that’s general
for everybody. But the the main thing is to keep going. I’ve always strived
to be better at what I’m doing; polishing my art, getting better, learning
from mistakes, trying to improve. So, the challenges have always been about keep it going, believe in what you’re doing,
however small it may appear, it actually can grow and it can get quite big.
And I’m really enjoying the fact that it’s I’ve seen the course of its
development now and I’m still enjoying the fruits of that.