Mary Harrah • Musician • Educator • Linguist

About Me

I have maintained a private violin and viola studio for 20 years, teaching students of all ages throughout the greater Phoenix area.  I am also Instructor of Viola at Mesa Community College in Mesa, Arizona, a position I have held since 2007.  Previously, I taught both elementary and high school strings for eleven years in the public schools, and was Director of Orchestras at the Arizona School for the Arts for two years. I am a Suzuki registered teacher through Book 4. I completed my Suzuki training with Beverly de la Bretonne, Susan Kempter, and Nancy Lokken.

My private students have participated in the Metropolitan Youth Symphony orchestras, the Phoenix Youth Symphony orchestras, the Arizona All-Regional orchestras, and the Arizona All-State orchestra.  They have gone on to study music performance, music education, and music therapy at Arizona State University, the University of Arizona, and Northern Arizona University, and are currently working as performing musicians, classroom music teachers, and music therapists throughout the greater Phoenix area.  My students have also gone on to study and work in a wide variety of non-music fields, including theater, doctoral studies in anthropology, the medical field, education, studio art, history, and basketball analytics. My orchestral groups have consistently earned ratings of Excellent and Superior at festival.

I am an active freelance musician as well as being a dedicated teacher. I have performed frequently as a substitute/extra musician with the Phoenix Symphony and Arizona Opera since 2005. I have also performed with the Tucson Symphony, Flagstaff Symphony, and West Valley Symphony. I have been a member of the Brevard Music Center Festival Orchestra, and the National Orchestral Institute orchestra, as well as being a participant at the Musicorda Summer String Festival for two summers. I have been a member of the AIMS in Graz Festival Orchestra in Graz, Austria, since 2018.

I earned both the Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees as a student of William Magers at Arizona State University. My past teachers include Ed Gazouleas, Michelle LaCourse, Carol Rodland, and Evgeniy Brodotskiy. My BA, in History and Russian, was earned from Wellesley College. Pursuing my interest in Russian, I have taught Russian at the high school level, and at Arizona State University. In 2014, I was a Fulbright-Hays scholar in Moscow, Russia, as part of a program for teachers of Russian. (My project focused on the lives of musicians in Moscow today.) I lived in St. Petersburg, Russia, for three years, where I studied viola through the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory, worked for the St. Petersburg Times, and became fluent in Russian.

Limited in-person instruction is now available. Online instruction is available via Skype, FaceTime, and Zoom.

Congratulations to Halle (MCC violin) who has been accepted to the undergraduate Music Therapy programs at Marywood University, Molloy College, SUNY Fredonia, Temple University, Berklee College of Music, and ASU!

Congratulations to those students who won the Regional audition: