People have always asked me, "Why are you a musician?".
I could say— "I'm a musician because I love singing" or "I couldn't imagine doing anything else," but neither of those have ever seemed right. For the past ten years, I have been asked, and throughout that time I’ve tried out different responses, but the truth is, it’s a complicated answer.
Hello—my name is Ava Harmon, and I am a current vocalist here at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. In addition to my studies and endeavours as a musician in the Bay Area, I work within the Department of Marketing and Communications, the Office of Admission, and the Library at the Conservatory. I spend my free time walking through Golden Gate Park, drinking a cup of Blue Bottle coffee, laughing with friends, cooking (lots and lots of it!), and reading books on history and comedy.
Born in Mahtomedi, Minnesota, I grew up surrounded by music. At the age of nine, I joined a girls chorus that, years later, led me to enroll at the Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists (SPCPA), a performing arts high school located in Minnesota’s capital city. Throughout those ten years of training, I had the opportunity to study both voice and piano privately, tour internationally on six different occasions, sing in masterclasses for artists like Denyce Graves, in addition to performing all over the Twin Cities with SPCPA’s Vocal Arts and Camerata programs, MacPhail Center for Music, and Ashland Academy of Music.
Knowing all of this, you can probably sense a pattern— my life was not merely enriched by music, it was music. So, knowing all of this, let’s return back to the question: Why are you a musician?
I don’t know when, or how, or really why I fell in love with music, but I did.
Partly it’s because I can’t remember life before or without it. But, more so, I'm a musician because music defines the undefined. It materializes an environmental and emotional juxtaposition in a way that, in and of itself, is enigmatically ineffable. I'm a musician— a vocalist— because when I sing, I'm completely transparent. I can't hide, nor pretend to be anyone or anything other than who I am. In a single note, in a crescendo, in a phrase, I can articulate how I feel a sunrise ray by ray, or how drinking a warm cup of coffee on a cold misty morning feels like home. I can articulate how being surrounded by the people I am inspired by the people I can call the truest of friends, and how sitting down in a cozy corner with a good book fills the gentle soul just enough.
I've never been able to explain precisely how I see or experience the world and all of its seemingly minute beauty with words because the way I see the world is impossible without music. That's why I'm a musician— because light is my air, the elements my dynamic, and depth my intention; I'm a musician because the world is, and always has been, my only heartsong.