David Harrison was born in the small Western Pennsylvania town of Rochester, about 1 hour northwest of Pittsburgh. Although he came from a fairly musical family, David received only a basic musical education for his first 9 years of schooling. Although his father had a stable job as a State Trooper, money was tight and his parents were unable to afford either a piano or piano lessons for the youngster.
The summer before his freshman year of high school, David's grandparents purchased on old piano and began to pay for him to receive piano lessons from a local jazz pianist, Val Stanley, who was teaching at a small music store in the neighboring community of New Brighton. Two years later, David began study with Dr. Ralph Hill, who would prepare him for entrance to study piano at the university level. While with Dr. Hill, David studied from Bach's Well-tempered Clavier and French Suites, as well as the Italian Concerto; some early Beethoven and Mozart Sonatas; Chopin Etudes, Waltzes, Polonaises and the first Ballade; the Gershwin Jazz Preludes for Piano; and Liszt's Consolations. During this period of study David also played for the worship services of the Second Baptist Church in his hometown, accompanied voice lessons at Sewickley Academy, and played both solo and chamber music at school and community events.
At Carnegie Mellon University School of Music, Mr. Harrison studied with Ralph Zitterbart. He received additional training from Hanna Li and Earl Wild, and attended and performed in Masterclasses with artists including Earl Wild, Ilana Vered, Enrique Graf, and Sergey Schepkin. Mr. Harrison has performed with conductor Nizan Leibovich, clarinetist Dana Howell and pianist Wan Ni Sui; during the 2002-2003 concert season he premiered a new work for duo piano by composer Devin Arrington; solo performances included a recital at the Mellon Institute, where the program included two Fantasys – Bach’s Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue and Chopin’s Opus 49. An advocate of quality contemporary music, Mr. Harrison organized and performed in a concert which included two world premieres during the summer of 2003. David also appeared with Soprano Mimi Taylor in a concert of sacred music during July, 2003. During the same season, Mr. Harrison performed with the Pittsburgh Opera Company in the orchestra for several performances of Kurt Weill’s Die Dreigoschenoper.
From 2004 to 2006, Mr. Harrison taught at the Preparatory School at the CMU School of Music under the direction of Hanna Wu Li, one of the renowned pedagogues among US pianists. Since 2006 he has taught piano evenings and weekends at a local Urban music program, the Judah Project of Eastminster Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh, while working days as a loan specialist for a National Bank.
In 2005, Mr. Harrison teamed up with Mr. Arrington, not just a composer but a talented violinist, to form the partnership of Duo Deo Gloria. The pair have performed many times, recently collaborating with Cellist and fellow CMU alum Nicole Meyers. More concerts are planned for 2009; the pair also hopes to record their first album of music for Piano and Violin by the end of the year.