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Lou Harrison
(May 14, 1917 - February 2, 2003) U.S.A.

Lou Harrison

Classical composer, poet, painter, calligrapher


Born in Portland, Oregon, he grew up in the San Francisco Bay area. Lou Harrison is a gay activist, and polymath. Harrison trained as a performer of Korean, Indonesian, and Chinese music and built every instrument in two Indonesian gamelan orchestras. His interests are not limited to music, however; he is fluent in Esperanto and American sign language; is proficient at calligraphy, paints, and writes poetry... and still finds time for activism.

He met John Cage at a young age in San Francisco, and at one time was a music critic at the New York Herald Tribune for Virgil Thomson. Harrison was an outspoken gay, marching annually and happily in the San Francisco gay pride parade. His partner of 33 years is William Colvig, an instrument designer. Their relationship started in 1967 and ended in 2000 with Colvig's death.



  • La Koro Sutro (1988)
  • The Perilous Chapel
  • Rapunzel: an Opera in Six Acts, Plus Other Works
  • Rhymes With Silver
  • Solo Keyboards
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