Aharon Harlap was born in Canada, where he began his musical career as a pianist. In 1963 he completed his studies at the University of Manitoba, Canada, majoring in Mathematics and Music. In 1964 he immigrated to Israel.
His composition teachers were P. Racine Fricker, at the Royal College of Music in London, England, and Oedoen Partos at the Rubin Academy of Music in Tel Aviv. He studied conducting with Sir Adrian Boult in London, Hans Swarowsky in Vienna, and Gary Bertini in Israel.
Aharon Harlap is well known as a a choral, operatic and orchestral conductor, and has been guest conductor of orchestras and opera in Canada, the United States, Europe and South Africa. In Israel he has been guest conductor of all the important orchestras, including the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.
As a composer, Harlap's works have been performed frequently in the aforementioned countries, as well as in Israel, and include compositions or chorus, chamber ensembles and symphony orchestra.
In 1979 he was awarded a prize in an international competition based on the subject of the Holocaust and Rebirth for his Oratorio The Fire and the Mountains (text: Israel Eliraz), and in 1983 received the ACUM Prize for Three songs for Mezzo-Soprano and Symphony Orchestra. In 1993, he received the Mark Lavry Prize for composition, offered by the Haifa Municipality, for his choral-orchestral work For dust you are, and to dust you shall return. In 1997 he was awarded a prize for his Opera Therese Raquin (based on the novel by Emile Zola), sponsored by the New Israeli Opera and the Israel Music Institute, and in the same year was awarded the ACUM Prize for his Clarinet Concerto. This year (1999), he received the coveted Prime Ministers Prize for Composition.
Currently, Aharon Harlap is a senior lecturer in conducting at the Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem, where he also holds the position of head of the Opera Department. He is also music director and conductor of the Kfar Saba Chamber Choir and Bel Canto.