Harrison 100/Thingamajigs 20

We are pleased to announce our first year-long celebration, dedicated to the 100th birth anniversary of Lou Harrison, and to mark the Thingamajigs' 20th year. The commemoration project, in collaboration with various arts organizations will feature commissioned works by a wide range of composers. The composers will also have an opportunity to create their work through a residency program at Harrison House in Joshua Tree (Lou's Winter Residence).

Lou Harrison was a world-renowned American composer and music educator with close lifelong ties to California and the Bay Area. He (along with fellow Californians Henry Cowell and Harry Partch) played a pivotal role in expanding contemporary composition practice to include alternate tunings and non-western musical influences. Lou was also an early supporter of Thingamajigs, and many in our community were inspired by him and benefited from his mentor-ship.

Each commissioned work will be written in an instrumental combination/orchestration that Lou Harrison used and both works will be presented together in concert. Through this, more work will be created to encourage ensembles and younger artists to perform the music of Lou Harrison. The commissioned works and “paired pieces" by Lou Harrison will be performed throughout 2016-2017 at various venues and regions in the Bay Area and Joshua Tree. The first premiere is set to be performed at the 19th Annual Music for People & Thingamajigs Festival in Winter 2016 and the last premiered work will culminate at the 20th Annual Music for People & Thingamajigs Festival in 2017.

The project will unfold in multiple venues in urban East Bay and rural Joshua Tree. The diverse design of these performances is aimed to identify and expand cultural commonalities, and develop relationships between under-served communities and innovative artists. It will also create a sense of cultural continuity and local pride – a gift of Lou's legacy. To realize these goals, composers such as Brian Baumbusch, Dennis Aman, Paul Dresher, Daniel Schmidt, David Samas, Dylan Bolles and Edward Schocker will present the full spectrum of Lou Harrison's career. Many new works from contemporary California composers and the post-concert discussions will help add to the artistry vibrancy and create an educational opportunity.

This unique celebratory program was awarded the New Music USA grant, and has garnered great support from the community of art and music.