Skip to Content

School of Music

Faculty and Staff

Michael Harley

Title: Professor / Bassoon
School of Music
Phone: 803-777-4421

School of Music Room 224


Michael Harley website
Southern Exposure New Music Series

Alarm Will Sound
Dark in the Song
Rushes Ensemble
All-State Double Reed Workshop



Michael Harley enjoys a diverse career as a teacher, performer, and music advocate. At the University of South Carolina he teaches bassoon and courses in music history and contemporary music, coaches chamber music, and is artistic director of the award-winning Southern Exposure New Music Series. Past full-time teaching positions include posts at Ohio University, Wright State University, and Goshen College. His performances have been called “spectacular” (Washington Post) and “exquisite” (Columbus Dispatch).

A proponent of contemporary music, Mike is a founding member of the acclaimed chamber orchestra Alarm Will Sound, called “new music luminaries” and “one of the most vital and original ensembles on the American musical scene” (New York Times). AWS members were artists-in-residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2013-14. Mike has worked with and premiered pieces by many of today’s most distinguished composers, including Pulitzer-winners John Adams, John Luther Adams, David Lang, Roger Reynolds, Steve Reich, and Charles Wuorinen; and Derek Bermel, Harrison Birtwistle, Caleb Burhans, Donnacha Dennehy, Stefan Freund, Michael Gordon, Meredith Monk, John Orfe, Michael Pisaro, Wolfgang Rihm, John Fitz Rogers, Kate Soper, Augusta Read Thomas, and Ken Ueno. A versatile musician, he has been featured as a soloist with AWS both as a bassoonist and singer. He has recorded on the Nonesuch, Cantaloupe, New Amsterdam, Innova, Centaur, and Sweetspot record labels.

 As a recitalist, chamber, and orchestral musician, Mike has played in diverse venues on five continents, ranging from nightclubs and bars (Le Poisson Rouge and the Roxy in NYC) to Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Barbican (London), Musiekgebouw aan ‘t IJ (Amsterdam), Town Hall in Johannesburg, South Africa, Glinka Hall (Moscow) and the Hermitage Theatre (St. Petersburg); and with artists including the indie rock group Dirty Projectors, the jazz trio Medeski, Martin and Wood, Dance Heginbotham, the orchestras of Charleston, Columbus, Fort Wayne, South Bend, Augusta, the South Carolina Philharmonic, and the Long Bay Symphony (Myrtle Beach). Current chamber projects include the pioneering bassoon groups Dark in the Song and the Rushes Ensemble, formed to perform and record Michael Gordon’s pathbreaking concert-length for seven bassoons, Rushes.  Festivals and conference performances include Lucca Opera Theater (Italy), Piccolo Spoleto, Music on the Hill Rhode Island, Mizzou New Music, Kent Blossom, the 2013 International College Music Society conference in Beunos Aires, Argentina, and numerous International Double Reed Society conferences.  In the summer of 2015 Mike served on the faculty of the Interlochen Arts Camp in Interlochen, MI; he has also been on the faculty of the Saarburger Serenaden International Music Festival and School in Saarburg, Germany.

Mike has degrees from the Eastman School of Music (D.M.A.), where he was awarded the Performer’s Certificate, the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (M.M.), and Goshen College (B.A., English and music). His teachers include John Hunt, William Winstead, Gwendolyn Rose, and Sharon Trent. He lives in Columbia, SC with his wife, flutist Jennifer Parker-Harley, and daughters Ella and Lucia.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.