Harrison, Lou

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Harrison, Lou Gender: M
Lou Silver Harrison
born on 14 May 1917 at 18:00 (= 6:00 PM )
Place Portland, Oregon, 45n31, 122w41
Timezone PST h8w (is standard time)
Data source
BC/BR in hand
Rodden Rating AA
Collector: Scholfield
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_taucol.18.gif 23°40' s_mo.18.gif s_piscol.18.gif 06°59 Asc.s_scocol.18.gif 07°15'

Lou Harrison (1940s)
photo: Unknown authorUnknown author, license cc-by-sa-4.0


American composer, music critic, music theorist, painter, and creator of unique musical instruments. Harrison initially wrote in a dissonant, ultramodernist style similar to his former teacher and contemporary, Henry Cowell, but later moved toward incorporating elements of non-Western cultures into his work. Notable examples include a number of pieces written for Javanese style gamelan instruments, inspired after studying with noted gamelan musician Kanjeng Notoprojo in Indonesia. Harrison would create his own musical ensembles and instruments with his partner, William Colvig, who are now both considered founders of the American gamelan movement and world music; along with composers Harry Partch and Claude Vivier, and ethnomusicologist Colin McPhee.

The majority of Harrison's works and custom instruments are written for just intonation rather than the more widespread equal temperament, making him one of the most prominent composers to have experimented with microtones. He was also one of the first composers to have written in the international language Esperanto, and among the first to incorporate strong themes of homosexuality in his music.

He and his lover Bill Colvig purchased land in Joshua Tree, California, where they designed and built the "Harrison House Retreat", a straw bale house. They lived together for 33 years until Colvig's death in 2000.

Harrison and his last partner Todd Burlingame were driving from Chicago en route to Ohio when, on 2 February 2003, they decided to stop off the highway in Lafayette, Indiana for lunch. While inside, Harrison began experiencing unexpected chest pains and collapsed on the scene. He was pronounced dead by the paramedics within minutes, the cause likely being from a heart attack. He was 85.

Link to Wikipedia biography


  • lover relationship with Cage, John (born 5 September 1912)
  • spousal equivalent relationship with Colvig, Bill (born 13 March 1917). Notes: Life partners, 1967-2000


  • Relationship : Begin significant relationship 1967 (33 years with Bill Colvig)

Source Notes

Birth certificate in hand from Sy Scholfield, copy on file.


  • Diagnoses : Psychological : Nervous Breakdown
  • Family : Relationship : Cohabitation more than 3 yrs
  • Family : Relationship : Mate - Same sex
  • Passions : Sexuality : Gay
  • Personal : Death : Long life more than 80 yrs (Age 85)
  • Vocation : Art : Fine art artist (Painter)
  • Vocation : Entertain/Music : Composer/ Arranger
  • Vocation : Entertain/Music : Dancer/ Teacher
  • Vocation : Entertain/Music : Instrumentalist (Creator of unique musical instruments)
  • Vocation : Entertain/Music : Music teacher
  • Vocation : Entertain/Music : Other Entertain/Music (Theorist)
  • Vocation : Writers : Critic (Music)
  • Notable : Famous : Founder/ originator (Creator of unique musical instruments)