Runyan's Harmonica Wizardry



Mike Runyan is an entertainer who uses harmonicas of many different sizes, a variety of musical styles, a bit of juggling and magic, and his wacky wit to excite and delight.

Mike first picked up a harmonica when one was tossed into the back seat of the family station wagon by his dad on a long vacation (it missed his head, but people wonder…).

Music had been an interest from early on—Mike began piano lessons at age six, took up trumpet in grade school and French horn in high school. He enjoyed playing classical, pop and jazz. While pianist for his high school swing choir, he rekindled his interest in the harmonica by learning to play a 10-hole chromatic for a choir piece calling for a harmonica obbligato. He found it hard to put the darn thing down after that.

Also while in high school, Mike started composing and arranging, a discipline he decided to pursue in college. He eventually earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

During his many years of schooling, Mike freelanced as an arranger, music copyist, teacher and studio musician. His experience was eventually found to be the perfect match for heading the music preparation operations at the Indianapolis Symphony, where he was an integral part of many pops and theatrical productions.

The symphonic world provided Mike many opportunities to bring out his harmonicas, both as an orchestra member and as a soloist. In 1999, Mike filled in at the last minute for an ailing Larry Adler with Marvin Hamlisch at the podium. Since then, Mike has been performing with orchestras across North America, including the Baltimore, Cincinnati, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis symphonies.

Besides performing, Mike composes and arranges in collaboration with his wife, Pamela. Their music is performed around the world.