Jazz pianist and educator Harry Appelman has performed on concert stages on five continents. He has been chosen three times to participate in U.S. State Department music tours overseas -- to South and Central America, Eastern Europe, Turkey and Cyprus, and South Asia. He has performed in Egypt with the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra and the Todd Marcus Quartet, at the Festival Gnaouas et Musiques du Monde in Essaouira, Morocco and at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. Appelman was a longtime member of Afro Bop Alliance, winners of a 2008 Latin Grammy, and contributed several arrangements to the group's recordings.  He has toured the United States and Canada with the Woody Herman Orchestra and the Artie Shaw Orchestra. 

A recipient of Maryland State Arts Council Awards for composition in 2012 and 2018, he was a finalist in both the 1987 and 1988 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competitions (finishing second in 1988) and one of three prizewinners in the 1989 Great American Jazz Piano Competition. Appelman has performed in small groups led by Conrad Herwig, Eddie Daniels, Gary Thomas, Drew Gress, George Garzone, Jerry Bergonzi, Jim Snidero, Brian Lynch, Don Braden, and Walt Weiskopf, among others. He has had long-term musical associations with such non-Western musicians as Afghani vocalist/harmonium virtuoso Humayun Khan and tabla player Broto Roy. Appelman was named in Washingtonian magazine's February 2003 "Great Music" issue as one of the D.C. area's best jazz artists. He currently performs in the area at Blues Alley, the Millenium Stage at the Kennedy Center, Wolf Trap, Twins, and other popular jazz venues.

Appelman leads the Latin jazz group Duende Quartet, and has played frequently with Palmetto recording artists Rumba Club. He has performed in concert with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Darren Atwater, and the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra with guest soloist Branford Marsalis. He has also resided and performed in Boston and New York City -- where he played with numerous creative and respected groups, ranging from trumpeter Scott Wendholt's quartet to vocalist Dakota Staton's trio.

A native of the Chicago area, Appelman began his classical music training in the first grade, later turning to the fusion and rock idioms and ultimately to jazz. After graduating with a B.A. in Economics from the University of Illinois -- where he was honored as a Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude -- he went on to earn a Master of Music degree with Distinction from the New England Conservatory. His post-graduate music studies have included work with Jim McNeely, Fred Hersch, Stanley Cowell, Tom McKinley, Sophia Rosoff and other brilliant pianist-teachers.

Teaching Experience

2006 to present: adjunct music faculty (applied music), Montgomery College, Rockville, MD.

2009 to present: adjunct music faculty, University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Clinics / master classes in US and abroad with Duende Quartet, Afro Bop Alliance and James Cotton Quartet. Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz: "Jazz Sports DC" music coach at Fillmore Arts Center (elementary and middle school students).

Private students since 1997.

Selected Recordings:


As leader or co-leader:

Harry Appelman, Freehand (2016).  With Ben Street and Jeff Reed, bass; Tony Martucci and Eric Kennedy on drums, Russell Kirk on alto sax, and Humayun Khan, vocals and harmonium.


Harry Appelman, Balancing (Exclusive Arts, 1995). Trio with Ben Street, bass and Kenny Wollesen, drums.

"It's a rare pleasure to hear such an outstanding debut recording -- full of first-class ideas, quiet virtuosity and subtle surprises. Bravo!"

-- Fred Hersch


TrioVera, Acceptance (2011). With Victor Dvoskin, bass, Dominic Smith and Eric Kennedy, drums.


Duende Quartet, Duende Quartet (2008). With Josh Schwartzman, bass and Mark Merella and Sam "Seguito" Turner, percussion.

"...delightfully inventive. "

-- Mike Joyce, Washington Post

"... a satisfying set with pleasurable discoveries throughout." 

-- David Kane, Cadence Magazine


As sideman:

Seth Kibel, Clown With a Stick (Azalea City recordings, 2023)

Ben Patterson, The Way of the Groove (Origin, 2022).

Afro-Bop Alliance, Angel Eyes (Zoho, 2014).

     "strong, rhythmic solos ... hypnotic montuno grooves."   

    -- Owen Cordle, Jazz Times

Afro-Bop Alliance, Una Mas (OA2 Records, 2011), Camino Nuevo (2006), Encarnacion (2004).

Broto Roy, Ancient Algorithms (2015).

Cantare, Mucha Musica (2015).

Elijah Jamal Balbed, Checking In (2012).

Steve Williams & Jazz Nation, With Eddie Daniels (OA2 Records, 2012).

Alan Blackman, Alone Together: 2 Piano Project, (2011).

Jon Seligman, Quintet Music, (2010).

L'Tanya Mari, A Teardrop Of Sun (Falconeye, 2009).

Caribbean Jazz Project/Afro-Bop Alliance, Featuring Dave Samuels (Heads Up International, 2008) - Winner of Latin Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Album.

Alan Baylock Jazz Orchestra, Eastern Standard Time (2008).

Vince Norman/Joe McCarthy Big Band, Words Cannot Express (OA2 Records, 2007).

Russell Kirk, Black and White (Kirkout, 2007).

John Blount, Better Days Ahead (Sea Breeze, 2007).

Tedd Baker, Mugshots (Mwai, 2006).

Lisa Moscatiello, Trouble From the Start (Machine Heart, 2005 - winner of 3 Washington Area Music Awards including Album of the Year).

The Onus (Darryl Harper), Y'All Got It (Hypnotic, 2004).

Ron Holloway & Friends, Live at Montpelier! (Jazzmont, 2003).

James Cotton, James Cotton Quartet (JamCott, 2001).

Complex Blue (Lex O'Brien), Knot the Thought that Counts (LexJazz, 2000).

John DeSalme / Steve Fidyk, Big Kids (US Roots, 1998).

Daryl Brenzel, Pentasphere (JenJazz, 1998).

Interplay (Tom Williams), First Time (Jazzscapes, 1995).