Born: May 14, 1917, Portland, Oregon, United States
Died: February 2, 2003, Lafayette, Indiana, United States
Education: University of California, Los Angeles
Burlingame High School
San Francisco State University
Black Mountain College
Lived: Harrison House, 6881 Mt Lassen Ave, Joshua Tree, CA 92252, USA (34.12816, -116.22678)
Partner: Todd Burlingame, William Colvig
Awards: Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts, US & Canada
Lou Silver Harrison was an American composer. He was a student of Henry Cowell, Arnold Schoenberg, and KPH Notoprojo (formerly called KRT Wasitodiningrat, informally called Pak Cokro). William (Bill) Colvig was an electrician and amateur musician who was the partner for 33 years of Harrison, whom he met in San Francisco, California in 1967. Colvig helped construct the so-called "American gamelan“, a full Javanese-style gamelan, modeled on the instrumentation of Kyai Udan Mas at U.C. Berkeley. Harrison lived for many years with Colvig in Aptos, California. They purchased land in Joshua Tree, California, where they designed and built the Harrison House Retreat, a straw bale house. Harrison died in Lafayette, Indiana, from a heart attack while on his way to a festival of his music at The Ohio State University. Harrison is particularly noted for incorporating elements of the music of non-Western cultures into his work, with a number of pieces written for Javanese style gamelan instruments, including ensembles constructed and tuned by Harrison and his partner William Colvig.
Together from 1967 to 2000: 33 years.
William “Bill” Colvig (1917-2000)
Lou Silver Harrison (May 14, 1917 - February 2, 2003)
Days of Love edited by Elisa Rolle
Release Date: September 21, 2014
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Harrison House Music & Arts is a non-profit artist residency, performance and community arts program based in the late composer Lou Harrison’s desert retreat in Joshua Tree, California. In addition to providing an enriching creative setting to dedicated artists the program offers high-quality performing arts and workshops to the local and visiting community.
Address: 6881 Mt Lassen Ave, Joshua Tree, CA 92252, USA (34.12816, -116.22678)
Type: Guest Facility (open to public)
Phone: +1 760-366-4712
Harrison House is the straw bale "composer’s cave" that Lou Harrison completed in 2002 on the edge of Joshua Tree National Park. Of his chosen construction method Lou Harrison noted, "America grows enough straw in one year to satisfy all of its building needs." The design, inspired by the great Egyptian architect Hassan Fathy, is a unique structure featuring a vaulted hall that measures 36' X 12' with a sixteen foot ceiling-- proportions chosen by Harrison to create a superb and intimate sound environment for acoustic music. Harrison had one year to visit and enjoy his studio retreat where he worked on his final musical composition "Scenes from Nek Chand" for custom-made steel guitar. This structure is a special integration of design, form, materials, light, acoustics and history. The experience of being inside has been likened to a chapel, mosque or temple. It is a special gem of approximately 1,000 square feet. The vaulted main room is flanked on both sides by three equal-sized spaces. To the north are three outdoor patios separated by rounded buttresses. To the south is a "monkish" bedroom, a bathroom with all fixtures built into the corners, and a fully equipped kitchen in which Harrison’s long-time friend, and renowned artist/choreographer, Remy Charlip painted the cabinetry. Artists who have been in residence have continued to adorn the house with their work. Harrison chose Joshua Tree as the location for his retreat because the dry desert air agreed with him, the stark beauty and desert ecology attracted him and he delighted in taking his friends on tours of the area. A rich cultural history, surreal geological features and a fascinating variety of plants and animals describes the area in and around Joshua Tree National Park. The arts also hold a place in its history, including prehistoric petroglyphs and historic murals painted on buildings throughout the nearby town of Twentynine Palms. Artists have been visiting the Joshua Tree desert for decades to nourish their creativity and this burgeoning arts community continues to flourish.
Who: William “Bill” Colvig (1917-2000) and Lou Silver Harrison (May 14, 1917- February 2, 2003)
Lou Harrison was an American composer. Bill Colvig was an electrician and amateur musician who was the partner for 33 years of Harrison, whom he met in San Francisco, California in 1967. Harrison lived for many years with Colvig in Aptos, California. They purchased land in Joshua Tree, California, where they designed and built the Harrison House Retreat, a straw bale house. Harrison died in Lafayette, Indiana, from a heart attack while on his way to a festival of his music at The Ohio State University.
Queer Places, Vol. 1 edited by Elisa Rolle
Release Date: July 24, 2016
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