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Live Stream: Lou Harrison’s Concerto for Violin and Percussion

A virtual performance available through March 5
Free. A recording of the performance is available online through March 5th by private link.


Netanel Draiblate, violin

PostClassical Ensemble conducted by Angel Gil-Ordóñez

William Richards, principal percussion

John Spirtas

Greg Akagi

Jonathan Rance

Gerald Novak


Lou Harrison – the master American composer PCE has championed since 2011 – espoused “world music” before there was a name for it. His profound knowledge of non-Western idioms -- in particular, of Indonesian gamelan – made him the master musical practitioner of cultural fusion.

Harrison’s catalogue includes the grandest of all American piano concertos – climaxing PCE’s   2019 “Cultural Fusion” concert at the Washington National Cathedral, a multi-cultural extravaganza named the “best event of the year” by Washington Classical Review.

The Harrison Violin Concerto may equally be considered the most memorable ever composed by an American. The solo part is both fabulously virtuosic and fervently expressive. The “orchestra” includes wash tubs, coffee cans, flower pots, and other “junk percussion” Harrison discovered rummaging with his San Francisco colleague John Cage.

Spain’s leading music journal, Scherzo, called PCE’s recording of the Harrison Violin Concerto “simply magnificent.” The CD (available at Naxos Direct and Amazon) was nominated for an International Classical Music Award.  David Hurwitz wrote in Classics Today:

Harrison’s Violin Concerto is a major masterpiece. . . . The opposition of a single solo cantabile instrument against the mass of unpitched percussion creates a distinctive expressive contrast unique in the instrumental literature. The mood is neither Asian nor Western avant-garde, but somehow a world unto itself, and utterly compelling.

PCE Executive Producer Joe Horowitz writes:


Born in Portland, Oregon, in 1917, Lou Harrison was a product of the West Coast: facing Asia. He may be understood as a composer of paradoxes. His idiom is lyric but never lush. He can be monumental but is not grandiose. His Western forebears are Renaissance, Medieval, and Baroque, not the Classical and Romantic masters. His American roots are wonderfully protean. American is his self-made, learn-by-doing, try-everything approach. So is his polyglot range of affinities, and the amazing array of home-made musical instruments, including an “American gamelan,” that he built with his partner Bill Colvig.

This event is free, but donations keep us bringing you innovative work like this!  Please consider making a donation. Only with your support can PostClassical Ensemble and its musicians present virtual programs and perform the music you love


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