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Lou Harrison

"It was Mozart's boast that he could master any musical style within a week and by the end of that time compose in it adeptly enough to deceive experts...Lou Harrison has something of that virtuosity himself...and he mixes things with infallible imagination...

-Virgil Thomson

Lou Harrison has for fifty years been in the vanguard of American composers. An innovator of musical composition and performance that transcends cultural boundaries, Harrison's highly acclaimed work juxtaposes and synthesizes musical dialects from virtually every corner of the world.

Born in Portland, Oregon, on May 14, 1917, Lou Harrison grew up in the culturally diverse San Francisco Bay Area. There he was influenced by Cantonese Opera, Gregorian chants and the music of California's Spanish and Mexican cultures. Harrison also developed an interest in Indonesian Gamelan music through early recordings.

As a young man, Lou Harrison worked as a dancer and a dance accompanist. His early compositions included a large body of percussion music, combining Western, Asian, African and Latin American rhythmic influences with homemade 'junk' instruments. During this period, Harrison worked closely with John Cage and began studies in Los Angeles with Arnold Schoenberg.

A move to New York in the mid-forties brought Lou Harrison to the Herald Tribune as music critic. Here Harrison helped to bring wider attention to the work of Charles Ives, and is considered largely responsible for Ives' receiving the Pulitzer Prize. The young composer and critic also embarked on a study of early European music during this period. In the late forties, Harrison taught at the legendary Black Mountain College. By the early fifties, he moved back to California, where he has lived ever since.

Residence on the West Coast has intensified Harrison's involvement in a synthesis of musical cultures bordering on the Pacific, reflected in such works as "Pacifica Rondo" and "La Koro Sutro" for chorus and gamelan. He has over the decades maintained an interest in dance, theater and the craft of instrument building and is an accomplished puppeteer who has written musical pieces for puppet theater.

Lou Harrison has travelled extensively, adding to the global resonance of his artistry, performing and studying with the musical masters of varied cultures, and presenting his work to enthusiastic audiences everywhere.


* At the Tomb of Charles Ives and Party Pieces (Gramavision, GR 7006 LP) * A Birthday Celebration: Strict Songs; Air from Rapunzel; First Concerto for Flute and Percussion; Holly and Ivy; New Moon: (MusicMasters, 513616L) * Canticle #1; Double Music (with John Cage) (Time, LP) * Canticle #3 (Urania, Urania 106 LP) * Concerto in Slendro; Three Pieces for Gamelan with Soloists; String Quartet Set; Suite for Percussion: Gamelan Sekar Kembar, Kobialka, violin, Kronos Quartet, Manhattan Percussion Ensemble; (CRI, CD 613) * Concerto for Violin & Percussion Orchestra; Concerto for Organ with Percussion Orchestra: E.Shapiro, violin, D.Craighead, organ, Los Angeles Percussion Ensemble; 1992 (Crystal Records, CD 850) * Concerto for Violin with Percussion Orchestra (The Milwaukee 20th Century Ensemble Inc, LP) * Concerto in Slendro (Desto, D7144 LP) * Double Concerto (TRC, TRC 109 LP) * Double Concerto for Violin and Cello with Javanese Gamelan (Music and Arts, CD 635) * Double Music (with John Cage) (New World Records, 80405-2) * Elegiac Symphony (1750 Arch St, LP) * Four Strict Songs (Louisville, LOU582 LP) * Gamelan Music: 1992 (MusicMasters 01612-6709102) * Gending Pak Cokro (Cambridge, CAM 2560 LP) * La Koro Sutro: Chorus of UC Berkeley, Abel-Steinberg-Winant Trio, American Gamelan; 1988 (New Albion, NA015) * Mass for Mixed Chorus, Trumpet, Harp and Strings (Epic, LP) * Mass for Mixed Chorus, Trumpet, Harp and Strings (Vox, LP) * Mass to St. Anthony: (Koch International, 371772H) * Music for Guitar and Percussion: (Etcetera, KTC 1071) * The Only Jealousy of Emer (Esoteric, ES506 LP) * Pacifika Rondo; Four Pieces for Harp; Two Pieces for Psaltery; Music for Violin with Various Instruments European, Asian and African: (Phoenix Compact Discs, PHCD 118) * Pacifika Rondo; Four Pieces for Harp; Two Pieces for Psaltery; Music for Violin and Percussion Orchestra (Desto, D6478 LP) * The Perilous Chapel: D.Tanenbaum, guitar, W.Winant, percussion, San Francisco Contemporary Music Players; 1993 (New Albion, NA055) * Seven Pastorales: K.Jarrett, piano, Voices Saintpaulia & Brooklyn PO; w/works by T.Riley, P.Glanville-Hicks; 1992 (MusicMasters 01612-67089-2) * Solstice; Canticle #3; Ariadne; A Summerfield Set: (MusicMasters, 3MMD 60241X) * Song of Quetzalcoatl (Orion, O 642 LP) * String Quartet Set; Main Bersama-Sama; Threnody; Serenade (CRI, S455 LP) * String Trio; Serenade for Guitar; Concerto for Violin with Percussion Orchestra (New World Records, 80382-2) * Suite for Percussion (CRI, S252 LP) * Suite for Percussion; Three Pieces for Gamelan & String Quartet Set (CRI, ACS 6006) * Suite for Violin , Piano and Small Orchestra (CRI, S114 LP) * Symphony #13 for Percussion (Photo and Sound, LP) * Symphony on G (CRI, S236 LP) * Third Symphony; Grand Duo for Violin & Piano: Cabrillo Music Festival Orchestra, Dennis Russell Davies, conductor; 1991 (MusicMasters 7073-2-C) * Trio for Violin, Cello & Piano; The Mirecourt Trio, w/works by Cooper, Svoboda, White; 1992 (Music & Arts, CD 687) * Works By Lou Harrison: K.Jarrett, piano, L.Stoltzman, violin, New Japan Philharmonic; 1988 (New World Records, NW 366-2)


* "Ariadne", "First Concerto for Flute and Percussion": from Music for Flute & Percussion: works of Harrison, Trombly, Sueyoshi, Sollberger; Rachel Rudich, flute, Kory Grossman, percussion; (CRI, CD 568) * "Fugue for Percussion" from The Blackearth Percussion Group: works of Harrison, Garland, Albright, Bertoncini, Miller, Cage; 1974 (Opus One, #22 LP) * "Varied Trio" from Set of Five: works by Harrison, Cage, Cowell, Hovhaness, Satoh; Abel-Steinberg-Winant Trio; 1991 (New Albion, NA036) * "White Ashes"; Hiroshi Kashiwagi, English lyric translation from Gobunsho of Rennyo Shonin; Pacific Mozart Ensemble Choral, Rae Imamura, piano; from Shin Buddhist Gathas, discs and service book; 1994 (Buddhist Churches of America, BCA Records CD 1/2/3)


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