Lou Harrison Centennial


“Cherish Conserve Consider Create”

On May 14, 2017

A global day of art making and conservation

To honor the 100th birthday of Lou Harrison

Harrison Heroes: $5000+
Your name will be engraved on the centennial gate at Harrison House and you will receive a two night stay in Joshua Tree on May 13th & 14th.

Centennial Anchors: $2500+
Your name will be engraved on the centennial gate at Harrison House.

Cherish: $1000+
We will plant a tree in your name in Joshua Tree.

Conserve: $500+
We will plant a tree somewhere in the world.

Consider: $250+
We will plant a native seedling in your honor.

Create: up to $250
We thank you and we want you to keep creating!

Every donor will be acknowledged on our website
and their names will be spoken during
our 24-hour live streaming event on
May 14th, 2017.

Thank you to our Harrison Centennial Donors! Click Here


More celebrations:

December 9 &10, 2016: San Francisco Symphony Sound Box Lou Harrison Centennial Concert

We are pleased that Eva Soltes, Harrison House Director, will be the Music Consultant/Filmmaker, providing visuals for the concert, of the San Francisco Symphony’s two day celebration for Lou Harrisons’ centennial.

UPDATE: It was a smashing success and great launch to Lou’s Centennial year! See reviews below.

San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco Classical Voice

The Mercury News

For info: •SF SoundBox•

June 13, 2017: Los Angeles Philharmonic and The Industry will present Lou Harrison’s opera Young Caesar at Disney Hall, Los Angeles

Eva Soltes, Harrison House Director, will be the Dramaturge of this production. Lou Harrison first conceived Young Caesar as a puppet opera in 1972, and  continued adding to  it for three decades turning it into a staged production that he never lived to see. During the 1980s he composed choral pieces for the Portland Gay Men’s Chorus production.  And in the late 1990’s he was commissioned by the Lincoln Center Festival to write arias for a production that never came to fruition. After Harrison’s death, Nicole Paiement conducted a version with students from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and UC Santa Cruz. The full opera will receive first professional production by The Los Angeles Philharmonic/ The Industry, directed by Yuval Sharon and conducted by Marc Lowenstein. This will be a newly commissioned version of the opera by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and The Industry in association with Harrison House Music, Arts & Ecology.

For info and tickets: • LAPHIL •

The Bay Bridge Project

The Harrison House is an awardee of “The Bay Bridge Steel Program for Creative Reuse in Civic and Public Art Projects.”  Mark Bulwinkle, Bay Area artist and longtime friend of Lou, will be designing an Art Gate for the Harrison House with the repurposed steel. Installation of the Gate will usher in a year of celebration for Lou’s centennial.

For more info: • Bay Bridge Project •

Lou Harrison is considered one of the great composers of the 20th century, “…creating America’s first important body of ‘multi-cultural’ music.”

—The New Yorker Magazine

Portrait_6_crop.byDavidHarsanyMore than sixty years ago composer, environmentalist, and gay icon Lou Harrison (1917 – 2003) quietly began his own musical revolution. With superb craftsmanship, he combined a reverence for world cultures, a passionate belief in social equity and a love of melody and beauty in all its forms, to create his own world of music.

In over 300 compositions for western, eastern, and custom-made instruments, Lou Harrison wrote for symphony orchestra, ballet, small chamber ensembles and soloists. He was a musical innovator, and a visionary in the truest sense, tirelessly knocking on the door of possibility. Michael Tilson Thomas acknowledged Harrison’s mastery by commissioning him to compose Parade for M.T.T., the first piece of music Tilson Thomas conducted as Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony. Performers such as Keith Jarrett, Yo-Yo Ma, The Mark Morris Dance Group, and Dennis Russell Davies also premiered Harrison’s music.

Beyond his myriad musical accomplishments, Harrison’s outspoken, lifelong involvement in political activism—ranging from pre-Stonewall gay rights and early civil rights, to pacifism and countless environmental causes—garnered him icon status in many communities. He was recognized with countless awards including membership in the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Humanitarian of the Year by the American Humanist Association, the Michael Callen Medal of Achievement from the Gay/Lesbian American Music Awards (GLAMA), and Musical America’s 2002 Composer of the Year.

“You don’t have to be born in Kyoto to play the
Koto, or in Benares to play the sitar.”

— LH

20's_crop1Born in Portland, Oregon in 1917, Lou Harrison’s earliest musical training took place in the San Francisco of the 1920’s, where he often heard Chinese Opera. By the mid 1930’s Harrison’s teacher and mentor Henry Cowell introduced him to John Cage. They formed a life-long friendship and together scoured San Francisco’s Chinatown in search of percussion instruments for their music ensemble. By the 1940’s Harrison, Cage, Merce Cunningham, and Henry Cowell all relocated to New York. A turbulent decade saw Harrison achieve success as a composer and music critic, under the wing of Virgil Thomson, conductor and teacher at the legendary Black Mountain College.

Perform_18_scanLou Harrison returned to the west coast In 1953, and settled permanently in the coastal town of Aptos, California. There he isolated himself from the pressures of having a career in music, and indulged in the pleasures of following his own artistic dreams. Inspired by the writings of Harry Partch, Harrison experimented freely with different tuning systems. The hauntingly beautiful sounds of the Indonesian gamelan led him to create, with his life-partner William Colvig , “An American Gamelan,” a custom-built collection of tuned percussion instruments.

For more information on Lou Harrison: A World of Music, a documentary by Eva Soltes, Click Here or visit www.harrisondocumentary.com