Sofia Diaz is a hatha yoga master and a lineage holder in the Balasaraswati tradition of the South Indian temple arts. She is also a recipient of numerous meditation empowerments in both Tibetan and Shakta Tantric traditions. Sofia transforms these traditional body and wisdom practices into accessible teaching and practices for the modern Western mind. She is an extraordinary yoga practitioner and healer who teaches internationally and is based in Boulder, Colorado.
Stefano Scodanibbio’s residency at Harrison House gave him the opportunity to turn the corner of his career toward composing rather than performing as he had been recently diagnosed with a debilitating disease. While in residence at Harrison House he rewrote his contrabass concerto Concertale as well as a new piano piece. These works have already been performed at major music festivals in Italy. Stefano also coached a local young musician. Stefano Scodanibbio is an Italian contrabass soloist and composer, and the creator of techniques that extends the range and color of the double bass to reaches never before thought possible. His performances at major festivals throughout the world in the 1980’s and 1990’s were a prominent force in the renaissance of this instrument. In 1983 he founded the “Rassagna di Nuova Musica” new music festival held annually in his birthplace of Macerata, Italy. Well-known composers such as Donatoni and Xenakis have written dozens of works specifically for Stefano, and he has collaborated with many renowned musicians including Terry Riley and Edoardo Sanguineti. As a composer his catalog consists of more than 50 works and he was chosen four times for the International Society of Contemporary Music.
Big Black is a master of world percussion. His innovative career has taken him from playing the clubs of Nassau with Calypsonian legend Lord Flea in the 1960’s to fusing Caribbean sounds into those of jazz trumpeter Billy Cook. Black went on to play with icons Muddy Waters, Richie Havens and B.B. King before joining jazz giants Dizzy Gillespie, John Coltraine, Freddie Hubbard, Oscar Peterson and Randy Weston, becoming the first percussionist to integrate the African drum into modern jazz. His residency at Harrison House was to help him turn the corner in sharing his knowledge. This was an opportunity for Black to conduct his first-ever workshop and drum circle for which we brought in local drum circle specialist, Sam Sloneker to assist.
Grammy Award-winning pianist Gloria Cheng is widely recognized as a charismatic and eloquent performer of contemporary music. Her fearless devotion to and advocacy of new music has led to close collaborations with many of the leading composers of our time. She has dozens of premieres and dedications to her credit from composers who include John Adams, Pierre Boulez, Terry Riley and Esa-Pekka Salonen. Ms. Cheng’s playing is regularly praised for its unassuming virtuosity and depth. As the New York Times put it, “It’s not just that Ms. Cheng plays these daunting pieces with such commanding technique, color and imagination. She has brought together works that fascinatingly complement one another.” Gloria Cheng is a regular guest of Harrison House as we invite her to Joshua Tree to ‘try out’ programs in advance of important Los Angeles or New York premieres.
Eva Soltes (Dancer), Padma Madaboosi (Vocals), Michael Davis (Flute), Aggie Brenneman (Cymbals) and Rusty Gillette (Mrdangam/Drums) together represented a rare gathering of artists who studied directly with Balasaraswati (Bala) [1918-1984] and her family. Bharatanatyam is a sacred dance form that was a temple ritual within Southern India for centuries until it was banned in the 1900’s. Bala’s family continued their art – the music and dance of nine generations – and turned to American students and a handful of Indians to carry on their ancient tradition. The four American artists first met during the 1970’s through the American Society for Eastern Arts program in Berkeley. This was the first opportunity Eva Soltes has had, in her over forty years of study, to perform a full traditional performance with live music.
Mark Bulwinkle is a San Francisco Bay Area artist well known for his intricate flame-cut works in galvanized steel. Mark received his art education at the University of Pittsburgh and the San Francisco Art Institute, where he earned his MFA in a short eight months. After graduation from SFAI Mark attended the San Francisco John O’Connel Trade School where he studied and practiced industrial welding, which led to a 12-year career with the Bethlehem Ship Yards. In 1987 Mark left industrial welding to pursue full time work as an artist. His work as a welder had inspired him to begin transferring the art of paper stenciling to thick steel plate using a burning torch, and his gift for creating elaborate and complex designs brought him instant international recognition and success. As a favorite artist of Lou Harrison and the designer of many of Lou’s album covers and posters, Mark was the obvious choice for creating the Harrison House logo and signage.
A graduate of the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and the Julliard School where she studied composition under Christopher Rouse, Alexandra du Bois is considered one of America’s most promising young composers. She has written three pieces for the Kronos Quartet and was commissioned by the Beaux Arts Trio. Alexandra began her musical training on the violin at the age of two and began composing music at the age of fifteen. As a contemporary classical composer Alexandra’s work has been widely commissioned and performed throughout five continents. Preceding her artist-in-residency at Harrison House, Alexandra has been composer-in-residence at Carnegie Hall, Dartmouth College, Mammoth Lakes Music Festival, Merkin Concert Hall and Southwest Chamber Music.
This residency gave Kristina and Cameron a place to alight and to perform after a recent four-month tour of Syria. Kristina Sophia (Singer/Percussionist) and Cameron Powers (Oud, Nay & Guitar) have mastered the sensual finely tuned Microtonal music of the Middle East and have used this ability to build cultural bridges. They sang love songs on the streets of Baghdad in the dangerous aftermath of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. They’ve subsequently made six trips to the countries of Iraq, Syria, Jordan, The West Bank, Lebanon and Egypt in response to a cascade of invitations to participate in Arab-world society on both family and cultural levels. Their non-profit organization “Musical Missions of Peace” promotes a non-violent path to peace worldwide.
David Tanenbaum is recognized internationally as an outstanding performing and recording artist, a charismatic educator and an accomplished transcriber and editor. He is one of the most admired classical guitarists of his generation. He has performed throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, Australia, the former Soviet Union and Asia. Tanenbaum has been a soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, the Oakland Symphony, Vienna’s ORF orchestra, and with eminent conductors such as Esa-Pekka Salonen, Kent Nagano and John Adams.
As Founder and Director of Harrison House Artist Residency Program, Eva Soltes has made an important contribution to the Harrison House legacy in capturing the story of Lou Harrison with the feature length documentary “Lou Harrison: A World of Music.” Directed and produced by Ms. Soltes this film is the culmination of two decades of documentation and research, resulting in 300+ hours of performances, rehearsals and interviews that were made with Lou Harrison, his life partner William Colvig, and contemporaries and associates. In February 2011 the film made its world premiere at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
Considered one of the greatest cellists of our time, Rohan de Saram has led a distinguished international career. Most recently known as an outstanding performer of contemporary music, Mr. de Saram was classically trained from the age of 11 and recognized as a young prodigy by the likes of Pablo Casals and Dmitri Mitropoulous. He has performed with the major orchestras worldwide and collaborated with the leading composers and conductors of our time. He currently works with a variety of artists, friends, composers and players from many musical backgrounds — bringing together music from a range of musical periods and parts of the world, combining Eastern and Western, classical and contemporary, composed and improvisational for a unique blend of sound.
California mosaic artist Perry Hoffman splits his time between homes in Santa Barbara and Wonder Valley and creates his work from his own handmade ceramic tiles and sculptural pieces along with a collection of handmade tiles, broken pottery, ceramic figures and other treasures he finds at yard sales, thrift stores, on the beach and along desert back roads. Perry works freehandedly without plans or sketches and draws from the influence of the pieces he’s working with as well as the inspiration of daily meditation. When he’s not creating he teaches locally and internationally.
Andrea Lilienthal is a visual artist who grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and now lives in Brooklyn, New York. Andrea has recently had a solo exhibit at the Gallery at Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn, a two-person show at Mountain Fold Gallery in New York City and a group show at Worcester State College. She has curated numerous exhibits including shows at the Rotunda Gallery in Brooklyn and The Hudson River Museum in Yonkers, New York. She also taught art and art history for ten years at Pace University and Farleigh Dickenson University. Andrea’s current work focuses on re-defining pieces from the natural world. This residency presented her with an opportunity to commune with the desert. In Joshua Tree she discovered Coyote Melons and created a hanging work for the “great room” that is elegant, fun and smart!
This was a joyful occasion for the community of Joshua Tree to be part of. Mountain Tribal Gypsy Belly Dance Troupe of Julian, California dances in the American Tribal Style, which has its origins in traditional Middle Eastern belly dance, but is also inspired by American artistic sensibilities. It is an ethnic fusion style that honors its roots and bears resemblance to various gypsy tribes throughout North Africa, the Middle East and India. During their stay at Harrison House the troupe performed and presented a workshop.
Omori began her career as a filmmaker and cinematographer in 1968. Her first job was as camerawoman/editor on the KQED program, Newsroom. In 1991, she wrote and directed the highly acclaimed drama, Hot Summer Winds, a co-production of American Playhouse and KCET. In January 1999, her documentary/memoir, Rabbit in the Moon, about her family’s confinement in a World War II American internment camp, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, was broadcast on POV, and went on to win a National Emmy. At Sundance she won Best Documentary Cinematography award for Rabbit in the Moon and for her work on Academy Award nominee Regret to Inform. She has produced and directed documentaries for PBS. With Wendy Slick, she co-produced and directed Passion and Power: The Technology of Orgasm which premiered at Lincoln Center in New York.
Ralph Samuelson chartered his life-long musical course in 1971 when he traveled to Japan to become a student of Yamaguchi Goro. Since then he has been studying the traditional repertoire and playing style of the Kinko school with Yamaguchi-sensei. Mr. Samuelson has performed traditional and contemporary Shakuhachi music in North America, Asia and Europe. He has been presented in media broadcasts in Japan and the U.S. and has recorded for several international record labels.