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“Teaching is a two-way street, and teachers learn just as much from their students as students learn from teachers. I can not wait to hit the ground running and get to know everyone in all of my classes.”

Evan Harger

The department is delighted to announce the appointment of Dr. Evan Harger as an Assistant Professor of Music, effective July 1, 2024. Dr. Harger will take over as music director and conductor of the UNC Symphony Orchestra and teach undergraduate courses.

Dr. Harger holds his D.M.A. in Orchestral Conducting from Michigan State University, under the tutelage of Prof. Kevin Noe. An advocate for new music and living composers, Dr. Harger serves as a Staff Conductor for Global Arts United festivals in Sofia, Bulgaria; Vienna, Austria; and São Paulo, Brazil. Additionally, he holds the position of Associate Conductor of the Newfound Chamber Winds (formerly known as the Maryland Chamber Winds), an ensemble made up of professional musicians from around the United States and Canada.

Dr. Harger expressed that “he is honored to be continuing the tremendous legacy of Maestro Tonu Kalam who has had such an indelible impact on the UNC Symphony Orchestra and its students.”

We reached out to Dr. Harger to learn more about him and what he’s most excited about for this upcoming academic year.

Dr. Evan Harger conductsUNC Music: What courses are you teaching this coming fall?
Dr. Evan Harger: I am thrilled to be teaching MUSC 64 ‘What is a Work of Art?’ An exciting First Year Seminar where we explore in-depth questions about musical works, genres, and ontology. It will be a course filled with many questions! More questions than answers I suspect!

I am also thrilled to be serving as music director of the UNC Symphony Orchestra, which has such a tremendous legacy. I can not wait to begin making music with those tremendous students for our audience and campus-wide community.

UNC Music: What is your favorite part of teaching and what are you looking forward to most coming to UNC?
Dr. Harger: My favorite part of teaching has to be getting to know every student in the classroom and hearing their contributions to the classroom discussions. The students at UNC pride themselves on wrestling with the big questions – and having productive conversations as a classroom where everyone feels encouraged and welcome to contribute in a variety of ways is a big part of my teaching methodology. I can not wait to be a part of this communal approach to learning and discourse.

UNC Music: What is the project that you’re most excited about currently?
Dr. Harger: Currently I am preparing some summer guest conducting engagements at festivals in Sofia, Bulgaria and São Paulo, Brazil. I will be conducting numerous new compositions by living composers, and also doing some guest teaching/lecturing at those festivals. It will be a real treat to connect with composers from all around the world in the spirit of international musical collaboration.

UNC Music: What are some of your non-musical hobbies?
Dr. Harger: I love reading, particularly Sci-Fi and Fantasy. I also love good conversations with friends, especially over good food. And from my time visiting Chapel Hill good food is in no short supply! Lately, I’ve taken to composing a bit on the side as well – and have enjoyed various arranging projects this past year.

UNC Music: If your students could learn one thing from you, what do you hope it will be?
Dr. Harger: My answer to this depends on the class we are talking about, but for me – as a musician it is something along the lines of: I hope that students gradually move from the vantage point of, ‘Oh I like this music, or I don’t like this music’ towards something more akin to ‘Oh, I see that there is something special or wonderful happening here, and I want to be a part of that. Or, I see that there is something special or wonderful happening here, and while it’s not my cup of tea per say, I can totally see why others are drawn to this captivating art form’  I think that shift in perspective and how it impacts discourse and performance, is really critical to being a musician in the 21st century.

UNC Music: What music are you currently listening to?
Dr. Harger: The past few weeks have been non-stop conducting concerts for me, so the last few weeks I’ve been living in Mozart’s The Magic Flute. However, my listening goals for the next few weeks are connected to a brief conversation I had with a student here at Texas A&M Kingsville who is one of the lead singers in our top Mariachi Ensemble. We were talking about his love of the art form, and I asked if he wouldn’t mind sending me a playlist of some of his favorite artists and he was thrilled to share – so I’m excited to dive into that playlist once school winds down and I have a bit more freetime. Some of the best music I’ve ever discovered has been shared with me from students and their playlists.

UNC Music: Anything else you’d like students to know about you or your teaching?
Dr. Harger: I am super thrilled to meet and learn from the students themselves!  Teaching is a two-way street, and teachers learn just as much from their students as students learn from teachers. I can not wait to hit the ground running and get to know everyone in all of my classes.

Dr. Evan Harger conduct

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