New Brunswick

Greg Harrison earns top 10 ranking in best classical albums

A New Brunswick musician is thrilled his album Glass Houses of Marimba with the duo Taktus made the list of the CBC's top 10 Classical Albums of the Year.

Greg Harrison and Jonny Smith's album Glass Houses of Marimba makes list of top classical albums in 2015

Greg Harrison (left) and Jonny Smith (right) made the top 10 list for CBC's Classical Albums of the Year. (Submitted by Catshrine)

A New Brunswick musician is thrilled his work with the duo Taktus made the list of the CBC's top 10 Classical Albums of the Year.

Fredericton's Greg Harrison said he first found out the album Glass Houses of Marimba made the list while searching online.

"Well I think I was surfing on the internet and it came up that way so I basically found out myself and then the emails started coming in and … it just kind of all hit at once, " he said.

And he said the it was also a surprise.

"It was a pretty big honour to be listed in the top 10, yeah, it was a big shock because I mean especially it being our debut album, lots of surprises there," said Harrison.

The now Toronto-based musician played jazz and classical percussion at Fredericton High School.

"I was really exactly in the middle of those two things, so I wasn't sure which side I was going to lean on, a little bit more," said Harrison.

After high school he says it was almost the "flip of a coin" as to which genre he would pursue.

Studied classical percussion

In the end, he chose to study classical percussion and credits an influential professor, Mark Adam, for his decision to study at Acadia University in Wolfville, N.S.

At Acadia, Harrison learned a full array of percussion instruments including marimba and that's when he connected with the work of various composers.

During his time in university, he said he started to connect to numerous composers, such as Philip Glass and Steve Reich.

"I kind of got into that genre quite a bit and discovered Ann Southam, actually, when I was still living in Fredericton and ordered some of her scores through the Canadian Music Centre," said Harrison.

Harrison and Jonny Smith then formed Taktus and together arranged Ann Southam's music for their debut album.

The album Glass Houses of Marimba has also been entered for consideration for a Juno and in the East Coast Music Awards.

Being named a top 10 classical Canadian album will help his resume but is also inspiring Harrison to keep pursuing his musical career. 

"I mean, it's a milestone definitely for us as individuals and especially as Taktus too," he said.

"This group, I would say, is just about a year old now and good things are coming our way, so it's really giving us a lot of motivation to keep pushing forward."