William Harper (born October 10, 1949) is a Chicago photographer and composer. His photography is concerned with natural form and line and his music is theatrical, technology-based work sourced from liturgical and folk traditions. Harper first earned critical acclaim for his work defining a Chicago style of new music theater and opera as the creator and producer of
many full-length original works for the American Ritual Theater Company (ARTCO).
Concurrent with these projects, and subsequently, Harper’s opera, music theater,
dance, orchestra, chorus, and electro-acoustic works have been commissioned and
performed by companies including The Minnesota Opera Company, The New Music
Theater Ensemble of Minneapolis, INTAR Hispanic American Cultural Center, The
Goodman Theater, Hartford Stage and The Music Theatre Group. Harper’s recently
completed Unquiet Myths, a suite of electro-acoustic pieces was commissioned by The
Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company for Spill Out!, which premiered in 2006 and is scheduled
to begin a national tour this year. William Harper received a PhD in music composition
from the Eastman School of Music, and has received support from many foundations
including the National Institute for Music Theater, the Djerassi Foundation, the Yaddo
Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Illinois and New York State Arts
Councils and The MacArthur Foundation.
Harper has three sisters including a twin sister, Jessica Harper, Lindsay Harper duPont and Diana Harper. He also has two brothers, Sam Harper and Charles Harper.