Allen Harrington is an Assistant Professor at the University of Manitoba Marcel A. Desautels Faculty of Music where he teaches saxophone, bassoon, and chamber music. As “an extremely fluid player of superb artistry” (Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal), Allen has amazed and delighted audiences with his “honest sound, …radio-active resonance,” (Halifax Chronicle Herald) “considerable virtuosity,” “mellifluous tone,” (Winnipeg Free Press) “fluid and delicate legato, clear phrasing, great agility, and excellent sense of rhythm” (Le Soleil, Québec City). A native of Saskatoon, he holds degrees from the University of Saskatchewan (B.Mus.) and Northwestern University (M.M.)
As an active soloist, recitalist, adjudicator, chamber and orchestral musician, Allen maintains a busy schedule outside of his University teaching career. He has appeared as a soloist with the Royal Chamber Orchestra of Wallonie (Belgium), l’Orchestre Symphonique de Québec, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra, Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra, and the Edmonton Chamber Players.
Highlights of the 08/09 season included a feature recital on the Groundswell new music series in Winnipeg, performing at the 15th World Saxophone Congress in Bangkok Thailand, and doing a recital tour in Malaysia with his duo partner Laura Loewen (piano). He toured western Canada with pianist David Moroz for Prairie Debut and premiered a concerto for wind controller and orchestra as a part of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra’s New Music Festival.
Allen has had great success at music competitions at the national and international level. He won the Grand Award of the National Music Festival of Canada in 1999, making him only the second saxophonist ever to accomplish that feat. In 2000, he placed first in woodwinds at the Canadian Music Competition finals, and first in chamber music at the National Music Festival. In 2004, he was awarded the Grand Prize at the international Stepping Stone Competition. More recently, in 2006 he became the first Canadian and only the second North American ever to reach the final round of the International Adolphe Sax Competition in Dinant, Belgium. He finished in fourth place from a field of 144 of the finest saxophonists in the world under the age of 31, at this largest and most prestigious saxophone competition in the world.
As a bassoonist, Allen was a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Canada in 1998. He has played bassoon and contrabassoon with the Saskatoon and Regina Symphony Orchestras, and is currently a regular extra with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. He plays second bassoon for the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, and is a busy freelancer with other groups in and around Winnipeg.
The Harrington/Loewen Duo has performed at the last three World Saxophone Congresses (Minneapolis 2003, Ljubljana, Slovenia 2006, Bangkok 2009), and the last three North American Saxophone Alliance Biennial Conferences. In the 06/07 season they completed a two week recital tour through Atlantic Canada for the Debut Atlantic series. In December 2007 they toured western Canada and recorded their first CD at the Banff Centre of the Arts featuring Canadian works for saxophone and piano. They are committed to thoroughly exploring the existing saxophone/piano repertoire while actively commissioning new works.