As a performer Robert Harris has served as Principal Viola of professional orchestras throughout Australia, including the Australian Chamber Orchestra in New Zealand, Thailand, England and with Australian orchestras touring Asia, Europe and North America. A founder member of the New England Ensemble based in Armidale, NSW (1975-80) Robert continues to perform especially in the eastern states with those ‘Old NEEs’ and other occasional ensembles (ARCH with Christina Wilson and Alan Hicks; Lanyon Trio with Andrew & Wendy Lorenz), nationally and internationally (eg Romano Crivici’s Elektra Ensembles). Robert’s own Viola Plus has played in close to thirty countries.
Since 2007 Robert has been visiting Canberra frequently as a guest Principal Viola of the Canberra Symphony and for chamber music concerts for ArtSong Canberra, CIMF, Tuggeranong Arts Centre and Wesley Music Centre. In recent years Robert’s visits have allowed him to offer a series of Cafe Viola workshops for Canberra members of the ANZ Viola Society, also open to members of AUSTA ACT, ACMS and other Canberra-region violists.
Robert’s ongoing role as an accredited examiner for AMEB NSW (& ACT) has been complemented by perennial in-school strings examining for leading schools and for university music departments in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney; by eisteddfods adjudication (Brisbane, Queensland and NSW regionals) and competitions judging panels (QYO’s National Concerto Competition, Bach and Paganini prizes etc.). In 2017 he returns to adjudication of the Armidale and St George Eisteddfods and the Ku-ring-gai Philharmonic’s NSW Secondary Schools Concerto Competition.
Robert has hosted strings workshops in most Australian states, throughout New Zealand for STANZA, in many Asian countries (including for Musica Viva Australia and the Dept of Foreign Affairs) and in the USA. He is a member of the AUSTA NSW committee, having served as a past National Consultant for AUSTA, ‘Chair’ of Orchestras Australia and President of the ANZ Viola Society.