S.C. Arts Awards: Dr. Tayloe Harding

2021 Recipient Feature Series

As the day nears for the 2021 South Carolina Arts Awards, The Hub is focusing on this year’s recipients: seven receiving the South Carolina Governor’s Awards for the Arts and two receiving the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award, which are managed jointly by the South Carolina Arts Commission and McKissick Museum at the University of South Carolina.

Dr. Tayloe Harding

Arts in Education Category | Governor’s Awards for the Arts

Tayloe Harding is a composer and music administrator, serves as the dean of the School of Music, and in the 2019/2020 academic year served as interim provost of the University of South Carolina. A passionate advocate for advancing the impact of higher education music study and experience on American communities and national society, Harding is devoted to an array of organizations whose missions are consistent with this advocacy. As president of the College Music Society (CMS) from 2005-2006, he led the creation of the Engagement and Outreach Initiative where the efforts of the music professoriate are articulated with a variety of national constituencies, including other higher education disciplines and populations, music businesses and industries, and general audiences in an effort to meet common musical and civic goals. He also served as national secretary of the National Association for Schools of Music, the accreditation, advocacy, and professional development association for collegiate music schools.

Tayloe Harding’s interest in the power of music and the arts to transform communities’ and individual’s lives by contributing to the health, happiness, safety, fulfillment, and hopefulness has been evident in his work with both local and state arts education and advocacy organizations. In addition to keynote speeches on this subject at each of the international summits he has produced at UofSC, he has participated in and led efforts locally and statewide as diverse as invited membership on the S.C. Arts in Basic Curriculum Steering Committee (2006-2018); consultant for the city of Columbia’s One Columbia initiative/office and the recent Amplify Columbia cultural plan for the city; service on the board and arts granting panels of the Richland/Lexington County Cultural Council (2008-2014); and in his regular engagement with the South Carolin Arts Alliance for Arts Advocacy Week (2007-2015). He teaches a unique course for young musicians, Introduction to Music and Arts Advocacy: Understanding the Power of Your Music and Art, to approximately 100 freshman arts majors at UofSC each year—an outcome of this course has been table tents and broader participation at the Arts Advocacy Week events for state legislators each February.

An active consultant for many organizations regarding music and arts education policy, and advocacy, he is a frequent presenter on issues facing the future of university music units and their leadership, and remains active as a composer earning commissions, performances, and recordings for his works around the world.


As an advocate of the arts, Dr. Harding has provided meaningful advice and support to many local, state and national arts councils. He has been an outstanding community advocate, promoting diversity and access to a wide range of performances and performers. He has worked tirelessly to promote music appreciation and education across our state at the elementary and high school levels, as well as through undergraduate and graduate education.

Harris Pastides, Ph.D.
Distinguished President Emeritus
University of South Carolina

The South Carolina Arts Awards stream live Monday, May 24, 2021. The festivities begin at 6 p.m. on SouthCarolinaArts.com. There is no in-person event in 2021. The virtual ceremony will be available on demand from the S.C. Arts Commission YouTube Channel after the livestream presentation.

Meet the Recipients

Use these links to read the long-form bios of the other 2021 South Carolina Arts Awards recipients.