Lou Harrison Oral Presentation

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Oral Presentation Lou Harrison was one of the great composers of the twentieth century--a pioneer in the use of alternate tunings, world music influences, and new instruments. Born in 1917 in Portland Oregon, he spent much of his youth moving around Northern California before settling in San Francisco. There he studied with the modernist pioneer of American Music, Henry Cowell, and, while still in his twenties, composed extensively for dance and percussion. He befriended another of Cowell's students, John Cage, and the two of them established the first concert series devoted to new music for percussion. They composed extensively for these concerts, including their still popular collaboration Double Music. In 1942,…show more content…
In 1975, Harrison met Ki K.P.H. Wasitodiningrat, familiarly known as Pak Cokro, one of the great masters of the Javanese gamelan orchestra in that century. Pak Cokro not only instructed him in the performance and theory of gamelan music, but also encouraged him to compose for the ensemble. Over the next ten years, Harrison would produce a remarkable body of nearly 50 pieces for gamelan, often in combinations with Western instruments, such as Philemon and Baukis (violin and gamelan), Main Bersama-sama (horn and Sundanese gamelan), and Bubaran Robert (trumpet and gamelan). He and Colvig built various sets of gamelan instruments, including ensembles at colleges where Harrison taught at various times--Mills College, San Jose State University, and Cabrillo College. In the 1980s, with the rise of interest in the "new tonality" and world music, the world began to catch up with Lou Harrison, who by the time of his death was recorded on dozens of CDs and was the subject of many festivals and tributes. On his way to another festival in his honor in January 2003 in Ohio, Harrison suffered a

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