Doris Duke Artist Awards

Stefon Harris

Jazz Vibraphonist and Composer

West Orange, New Jersey

With astonishing artistry and virtuosity, Stefon Harris has risen to become one of the most admired artists in jazz. He is a recipient of the Martin E. Segal Award from Lincoln Center and has earned four Grammy nominations. He has also been named Best Mallet Player eight times by the Jazz Journalists Association and was chosen as Best Vibes in the 2018 and 2017 DownBeat Magazine critics polls, the 2016 Jazz Times Expanded Critics Poll, the 2014 Jazz Times Critics Poll and the 2013 DownBeat Critics Poll.

Harris’ 11th album as a band leader, “Sonic Creed,” recorded with his band Blackout, will be released in 2018. He has also recorded as part of The Classical Jazz Quartet with Kenny Barron, Ron Carter and Lewis Nash; toured worldwide with his bands and as a member of the SFJAZZ Collective; and recorded and performed with many of music’s best known artists. As a thought leader,Harris conducts presentations on corporate leadership development and team empowerment to Fortune 500 companies using jazz as a metaphor. His 2012 TED talk, "There Are No Mistakes on the Bandstand," has gained nearly three-quarter of a million views to date. Harris received his Bachelor of Music degree in classical music and Master of Music degree in jazz performance at Manhattan School of Music (MSM). He teaches internationally in person at universities and virtually via his Distance Learning Studio, has led curriculum development at the Brubeck Institute, and serves as advisor for jazz education at New Jersey Performing Arts Center. Prior to being named associate dean and director of jazz arts at MSM in July 2017, Harris was a visiting professor at Rutgers University and served on the jazz faculty of New York University for a decade. “The Art of Listening,” part of a series of documentaries about Harris’ community work in arts education in Kalamazoo, won three Gold Camera awards and three Michigan Emmy nominations.

Harris’ venture into new technological advances led to the co-founding of The Melodic Progression Institute (MPI) in 2013 with partner Clif Swigget. MPI released its first app in 2016, Harmony Cloud, an ear-training learning tool now available on iTunes, with a focus on designing innovative ways to help musicians learn and grow.


See the other 2018 Doris Duke Artists