Duffey performed with Hutcheson on WABC Sunday evening radio broadcasts 1929-30. During 1929 and 1932 she received scholarships to study voice at the Hochschule für Musik in Berlin. In 1933 she graduated from Juilliard with distinction. In 1936, she married Roy Harris, the American composer. Following his recommendation, Duffey renamed herself Johana, after J.S. Bach.
Performer, Educator, Recording Artist
One of the 20th century's most outstanding pianists, Johana Harris collaborated with Josef Gingold, Yehudi Menuhin, William Primrose and Tommy Dorsey, and the Juilliard, Walden and Blair quartets. She performed as soloist with the New York, Chicago, MGM and San Francisco symphonies, among others. Harris became internationally known for her piano interpretations of the works of Debussy, Roy Harris and others. Composer Alberto Ginastera dedicated his Piano Sonata to her; she was the first to record it. The pianist Olga Samaroff Stokowski said, "No artist before the public is better equipped in repertory, keyboard mastery and playing experience."
Johana Harris recorded for Columbia, RCA, Capitol, MGM and Contemporary Records, making over 100 solo recordings. In 1937 she made the first recording of the Bach-Busoni Chaconne, which in 1939 was selected by RCA Victor for New York's World's Fair. In the 1950s, Harris's weekly television broadcast, Master Keys, aired in the US and Europe. She later performed for Hollywood film and television scores.
Harris' ability to improvise dazzled audiences. Her improvisations often included references to "O Canada."
For 43 years she taught piano, on 18 college campuses, especially at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) 1969-93. In 1987 Harris received UCLA's first music faculty Distinguished Lecturer Award.
Johana and Roy Harris
Johana and Roy Harris were a tour de force in American music. Their collaboration has been compared to that of Robert and Clara Schumann. The Harrises organized concerts, adjudicated at festivals, and in 1959 founded the International String Congress. They promoted American folksong by including folksongs in their concerts and broadcasts.
Johana Harris, Composer
Roy Harris died in 1979. On 18 Dec 1982 Johana married American pianist-composer Jake Heggie. Harris and Heggie toured the US as duo pianists. In 1987, Harris recorded over 100 works; MCA released two CDs - one devoted to Bach and one to Debussy.
Slonimsky, Nicolas. Perfect Pitch: A Life Story (Oxford 1988)
Spizizen, Louise. "Johana and Roy Harris: Marrying a real composer," Musical Quarterly, vol 77, no. 4, 1993
Perry, Richard. "Ottawa's hidden prodigy," Ottawa Citizen, 18 May 1997
Bohuslawsky, Maria. "Canada's child star: Great triumphs and great loves marked musical prodigy's life," Ottawa Citizen, 5 Apr 1998
Perry, Richard. "Johana Harris revisited," Ottawa Citizen, 23 May 1999
The Johana Harris fonds, MUS 183 (Accession 2004-11), Library and Archives Canada
Music of the Americas, KPFK FM Los Angeles, Jeannie Pool interviews Johana Harris, 15 Mar 1993
Portrait of Johana Harris, CBC Radio 2, 24 May 2001
Links to Other Sites
An extensive profile of Canadian pianist, teacher, and composer Johana Harris from the "Virtual Gramophone." Includes details about her concert and recording career. A Library and Archives Canada website.