American Mavericks

Lou Harrison

(b. Portland, Oregon, May 14 1917; d. Lafayette, Indiana, February 2, 2003)

The Grand Master of San Francisco Bay Area composers, Lou Harrison was a longtime resident of Aptos and co-founder of the Cabrillo Festival. He was witness to most of the major developments of 20th-century American music, and he championed Charles Ives when Ives was better known as insurance executive than composer. Like John Cage, he worked as dance accompanist and studied with Arnold Schoenberg. He served as music critic for the New York Herald Tribune and taught at Black Mountain College before returning to California in the mid 1950s.

A mystic and visionary, he was fascinated with Asian music and incorporated the sound of the Javanese gamelan into his own works, bridging the gap between East and West.

An Interview with Lou Harrison

Interviews from the “American Mavericks” series (c) (p) American Mavericks Public Media. Used with permission. All rights reserved.