Harrison, Lou, 1917-2003

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1917-05-14
Death 2003-02-02
Americans
English

Biographical notes:

Composer and teacher at Black Mountain College (1951-1952).

From the description of Lou Harrison papers, 1946-1971. (University of Connecticut). WorldCat record id: 28418179

Composed 1940. First performance Oakland, California, 18 July 1940.--Cf. Fleisher Collection.

From the description of Canticle / Lou Harrison. 1940. (Franklin & Marshall College). WorldCat record id: 52199133

American composer.

From the description of Interview conducted by Oliver Daniel, Nov. 27, 1977 [sound recording]. (University of Pennsylvania Library). WorldCat record id: 155861469

From the description of Interview conducted by Donald J. Ott, Feb. 23, 1980 [sound recording]. (University of Pennsylvania Library). WorldCat record id: 155862351

From the description of Interview conducted by Oliver Daniel, [n.d.] [sound recording]. (University of Pennsylvania Library). WorldCat record id: 155862290

Composed 1939.--Cf. Fleisher Collection.

From the description of Bomba : for 20 instruments, 5 players / Lou Harrison. 1939. (Franklin & Marshall College). WorldCat record id: 52199115

From the description of First concerto for the flute with ostinati for percussion / Lou Harrison. 1939. (Franklin & Marshall College). WorldCat record id: 52199145

Composed 1947.--Cf. Fleisher Collection.

From the description of Suite for strings / Lou Harrison. 1948. (Franklin & Marshall College). WorldCat record id: 52199157

Composed 1940-41.--Cf. Fleisher Collection.

From the description of Labrynth #3 : five movements for percussion orchestra / Lou Harrison. [1941] (Franklin & Marshall College). WorldCat record id: 52199151

Composed 1939. First performance at the Cornish School, Seattle, Washington, 19 May 1939, John Cage conductor.--Cf. Fleisher Collection.

From the description of Fifth simfony / Lou Harrison. 1939. (Franklin & Marshall College). WorldCat record id: 52199137

American composer Lou Harrison (1917-2003) is particularly noted for his percussion music, his exploration of cross-cultural compositional techniques, his fascination with and employment of just intonation tuning systems, and his synthesis of Asian and Western musics. Several of his compositions call for mixed ensembles of Asian and Western instruments. He was particularly interested in the gamelan and, in addition to writing for that ensemble, constructed his own ‘American gamelan.’

Lou Harrison was born in Portland OR in 1917 but spent his formative years in northern CA after his family settled there in 1926. He studied music at San Francisco State College beginning in 1935; while there he enrolled in Henry Cowell’s course “Music of the Peoples of the World.” He also studied composition with Cowell, who became a lifelong friend and influential mentor. Harrison later studied with Arnold Schoenberg at UCLA. During the 1940s, while in New York, he wrote reviews for the New York Herald Tribune and also wrote for Modern Music. He taught at various institutions, including Mills College in Oakland, CA (1937-40; 1980-85), UCLA (1942), Black Mountain College in NC (1951-53), and various other institutions. In 1953 he settled in Aptos, CA. Travels to Asia in 1961-62, as well as intensive study of the Korean double-reed p’iri, the Chinese psaltery, and the Indonesian gamelan inspired him to incorporate Asian influences into his musical style and to write works combining Eastern and Western instruments.

In addition to being a composer he was a published poet, an accomplished painter and was renowned for his calligraphic script.

From the guide to the Music manuscripts, sketches, poetry, and drawings, 1945-1991, (Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University)

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http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w63x8d02
Ark ID:
w63x8d02
SNAC ID:
53884405

Subjects:

  • Music
  • Vocal music
  • Concertos (Organ with percussion ensemble)
  • Music--Manuscripts
  • Instrumental ensembles--Scores
  • Composers--United States
  • Gamelan music
  • Publishers and Publishing
  • Piano music
  • Authors and publishers
  • Ballet
  • Sanctus (Music)
  • Choruses, Sacred (Mixed voices) with instrumental ensemble
  • Incidental music
  • Flute and percussion music--Scores
  • Puppet theater
  • Symphonies--Scores
  • Music--20th century
  • Composers
  • Keyboard instrument music
  • Chamber orchestra music--Parts
  • Percussion ensembles--Scores and parts
  • Suites (Chamber orchestra)--Parts
  • Sacred songs (Low voice) with piano
  • Puppet plays
  • Dramatic music
  • Motion picture music
  • Shadow shows
  • Percussion
  • Music--Manuscripts--Facsimiles
  • Book design
  • Orchestral music
  • Dance music
  • Gamelan music--Scores
  • Percussion ensemble--Scores
  • Symphonies--Excerpts--Scores
  • Suites (String orchestra)--Scores and parts
  • Instrumental ensembles--Parts
  • Musical sketches
  • Puppet making
  • Suites (String orchestra)--Excerpts--Scores
  • Aleatory music
  • Concertos (Flute with percussion ensemble)--Scores and parts
  • Puppets
  • Symphonies (Percussion)--Scores and parts
  • Music--History and criticism
  • Prepared piano and percussion music--Scores
  • Woodwind trios (Recorders (3))--Scores

Occupations:

  • Composers
  • Collector

Places:

  • Korea (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • New York (State) (as recorded)
  • Yonkers (N.Y.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)