Composing a World

Lou Harrison, Musical Wayfarer
Author: Leta E. Miller and Fredric Lieberman
Exploring the life and works of one of America's most original composers
Paper – $39
978-0-252-07188-1
Publication Date: May 2004
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About the Book

Composing a World is the definitive work on Lou Harrison, the prolific California composer often cited as one of America's most original and influential figures. The product of extensive research, including seventy-five interviews with the composer and those associated with him over half a century, Composing a World includes chapters on music and dance, intonation and tuning, instrument building, music criticism, Harrison's political activism, homosexuality, Asian influences, and final years.

This edition features an updated catalog of works reflecting compositions completed after 1997. It also includes an annotated work list detailing more than 300 compositions and a CD featuring over seventy-four minutes of illustrative Harrison compositions, including several unique and previously unrecorded works.

A compelling and deeply human portrait, Composing a World offers an indispensable study of a beloved musical pioneer.

About the Author

Leta E. Miller is a professor of music at the University of California at Santa Cruz and editor of the MUSA volume Lou Harrison: Selected Keyboard and Chamber Music, 1937-1994. Fredric Lieberman (d. 2013) was a professor of music at the University of California at Santa Cruz.

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Reviews

"Garrulous and loving, remarkably successful in distilling abstruse musical manipulation--e.g., the mathematics governing the many kinds of tuning in Harrison's music--this is one of those rare musical biographies that draws you close to the subject with words of kindness rather than scholarly gobbledygook or scabrous patter."--Alan Rich, San Francisco Sunday Examiner

"An inspirational assessment of the American maverick."--BBC Music Magazine

"[S]eemingly manages the impossible in striking a perfect balance between convention and alterity, seriousness and humor, scholarship and celebration, erudition and readability, macrocosm and microcosm . . . A minor musicological miracle."--David Nicholls, Notes