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Harrison 100 / Thingamajigs 20

A year long celebration of 10 commissioned works to honor and celebrate Lou Harrison’s centenary and Thingamajigs’ 20th anniversary.

The Latest Update

Full: Harrison

Posted on May 8, 2017 by Thingamajigs

Our Harrison 100 / Thingamajigs 20 celebration keeps on rolling. Don’t miss our next concert this Tuesday, with a world premiere gamelan piece by Daniel Schmidt and performed by Gamelan Encinal.

Full: Harrison
May 10, 7pm
Berkeley Art Museum
2155 Center Street
Berkeley CA

May 2017 marks the hundredth anniversary of the birth of Lou Harrison. Please join us for an evening of music by the groundbreaking American composer, including several of his gorgeous works for gamelan, presented by an all-star gathering of local performers and ensembles.

The phenomenal bass vocalist RIchard Mix returns to BAMPFA to sing Harrison’s rarely-performed Political Primer. Violin virtuoso Kate Stenberg is soloist in a performance of the globe-spanning Music for Violin and Various Instruments, European, Asian, and African. And Gamelan Encinal plays several of Harrison’s celebrated gamelan works, plus a new piece by composer Daniel Schmidt.

Daniel Schmidt’s work presented in partnership with the Harrison 100/Thingamajigs 20 project, partially funded by New Music USA.

Programmed by Sarah Cahill.

More Updates ▼

Four Kings for Lou Harrison

Posted on April 29, 2017 by Thingamajigs

Join Thingamajigs and Wild Rumpus as we co-commission composer, Brian Baumbusch on a new work for Lou Harrison.

Friday, May 5 at 8 PM – 10 PM
The Episcopal Church of St. John the Evangelist
1661 15th St, San Francisco, CA 94103-3511

Wild Rumpus presents the world premieres of Brian Baumbuschs Kings celebrating Lou Harrison, and Carolina Heredias Negative Image, with additional works by John Luther Adams and Lou Harrison.

Lou Harrison: Scenes from Nek Chand, for Just Intonation Resophonic Guitar
John Luther Adams: The Farthest Place, for piano, two percussion, violin and bass
Carolina Heredia: Negative Image, for soprano and chamber ensemble
Brian Baumbusch: Kings, for large chamber ensemble, with puppetry by Niki Ulehla

Hyi Mun performance at Asian Art Museum -San Francsico

Posted on April 15, 2017 by Thingamajigs

April 16

12pm and 2pm

Asian Art Museum, San Francisco

Hyi Mun

Continuing to honor Lou Harrison, members of Thingamajigs Performance Group and Gamelan Encinal perform an incredibly rare traditional Korean Gugak piece arranged by Lou. It’s called Hyi Mun, and will be performed on large Biangzhong, Han Dynasty bronze bells. Of all the Lou Harrison centennial pieces happening throughout the world, this one has to be the most rare and unique. If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area, don’t miss this performance. You’ll probably never hear it live again!




New commissioned work by Stephen Parris announced

Posted on February 10, 2017 by Thingamajigs

Saturday, April 15, 2017 8:00 pm
Mills College, Littlefield Concert Hall

Presented by the Mills Performing Group and Thingamajigs

Lou Harrison

Program includes:

Music by Lou Harrison
Performers: Margaret Fisher, Stassa Morgan-Shank

Jahla in the form of a Ductia to please Leopold Stokowski on his 90th Birthday
Performers: Elvyn Blair, Margaret Fisher, Robert Hughes, Claudia Naganuma, Bob Saito, Brenda Stine, Toyoji Tomita

Lou Harrison: 
From the Varied Trio
Rondeau in Honor of Fragonard
From the Grand Duo
David Abel: violin, Julie Steinberg: piano

Edward Schocker:
Hymn for Lou & Bill
Dylan Bolles: Bamboo flute
Soo Yeon Jyuh: Haegeum

Stephen Parris: 
New Work for Pipa and Javanese Gamelan
Sophia Shen: pipa
Gamelan Encinal directed by Stephen Parris
(Commissioned by Thingamajigs as part of “Harrison 100 / Thingamajigs 20 project” -a project that celebrates Lou Harrison’s centennial and Thingamajigs 20th anniversary.)

Henry Cowell:
Persian Set for Chamber Orchestra

Lou Harrison:
Suite for Violin, Piano, and Small Orchestra

Harrison 100 / Thingamajigs 20 kick-off performance

Posted on January 6, 2017 by Thingamajigs

In October we kicked-off our project at the 19th Annual Music for People & Thingamajigs Festival in Oakland, CA. Along with a new commissioned work by composer David Samas, Gamelan Encinal performed this piece by Lou Harrison. The Gamelan is built by Daniel Schmidt, for whom the piece was written.

Be on the look out for more announcements of events in April and May.

Harrison 100 / Thingamajigs 20 kicks-off this Sunday

Posted on October 12, 2016 by Thingamajigs

We’ve been working hard on our project and will be announcing concert dates and venues soon, but now we’re proud to announce the kick-off concert for our year-long project. The last concert of  our 19th Annual Music for People & Thingamajigs Festival is also the beginning concert of Harrison 100 / Thingamajigs 20. Don’t miss performances by William Winant, Gamelan Encinal and Long Tone Choir, as well as new a new work by composer David Samas.

Thingamajigs presents the 2016 edition of the sound-art festival that started it all. A power-pack of musical works of homemade instruments, found objects, and alternate tunings by some of the Bay Area’s most innovative artists; the 19th Annual MFP&T festival is a step further in Thingamajigs’ search for sounds; as it extends the spirit beyond its artist community. In order to achieve this, the festival will be held over 3 weekends and in different venues around Bay Area.

2016 also marks the beginning of a year-long tribute to the composer Lou Harrison. 19th MFP&T’s last leg on October 16th will kick-off this commemoration project with special concerts. Featured here will be the following :

– A performance by Bay Area legendary percussionist Willie Winant, who will present pieces on a special bell instrument designed by Lou Harrison and his partner Bill Colvig. 
– Pet the Tiger Instrument Inventors Collective will present pieces on a new instrument called ‘The (Theta-Schumann) Harmonic Series Gamelan’. This is an intense work of alternate tunings, inspired by the works of Lou Harrison.
– Gamelan Encinal : an aluminum gamelan ensemble that focuses on contemporary works. The instruments use the same just tuning that was used by Lou Harrison and Bill Colvig for Si Madeleine and Si Darius at Mills College. The current repertoire is composed of games, highlighting the playfulness and creativity of spontaneous innovation within the rules set by each score.
– Long Tone Choir : A manifold project that creates biotic and centripetal developments of sound, time and perception. The project uses inherently irregular tempo of breath as the musical pulse, plays within the harmonic series with specific pitches, vowels and vocal manipulations, and traverses the ragged edges of harmonic adventure through aleatory methods. The Long Tone Choir consists of local and national communities of singers, and has been facilitated by Rae Diamond since its founding in 2013.

FESTIVAL CALENDAR : thingamajigs.org/events


Getting ready for a year-long celebration!

Posted on August 29, 2016 by Thingamajigs

We are pleased to announce that Harrison 100 / Thingamajigs 20 will be kicking off this October at the 19th Annual Music for People & Thingamajigs Festival happening in Oakland and San Francisco.  If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area keep your weekends open. We’ll be posting details soon. Stay tuned!



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 benefited from his mentorship and example. To honor and celebrate Lou Harrison’s centenary, as well as Thingamajigs’ 20th birthday, we are coordinating a large project called Lou Harrison 100/Thingamajigs 20. For this event, and with the help of HARRISON HOUSE MUSIC, ARTS & ECOLOGY, we will commission and present 10 new works by a wide range of composers who have been deeply touched by the work and philosophies of Lou Harrison. Commissioned composers will also have the chance to compose their work through a residency program at Harrison House in Joshua Tree (Lou’s Winter residence).  Each of the works 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 in these unique instrumentations will be created to encourage ensembles and performers to perform the music of Lou Harrison and his the younger generation that is inspired by him.

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. Although the commissioned works will have various instrumentations, a majority of the commissioned works will incorporate Lou’s unique instruments and alternate tunings (ie. Gamelan, American Steel Guitar, Asian instruments, and Just Intonation piano).

We plan to achieve this:

  • By commissioning new works, this project will foster and promote living composers, building on and extending the legacy of Lou Harrison’s work which was integrally tied to place.
  • By reinforcing and continuing Harrison’s pan-Pacific aesthetic in the commissioned works, the project builds and strengthens existing cross-cultural ties among communities.
  • By presenting premiers in multiple venues around the urban East Bay and rural Joshua Tree, the project will foster strong and meaningful relationships between underserved communities and innovative artists. It will also afford access to multiple communities with ties to Harrison’s work.
  • By including activities at Harrison House in Joshua Tree, the project will create a interchange between urban and rural, bridging and expanding these contrasting “places” by emphasizing a cultural commonalities

First phase of participants so far are:

  • Composers Brian Baumbusch, Dennis Aman, Paul Dresher, Daniel Schmidt, David Samas, Dylan Bolles, Edward Schocker. These artists represent the full spectrum of a composer’s career -from newcomers to seasoned and well known veterans.
  • Performers for the premiers include Mills College Gamelan Group, UC Santa Cruz, Sacred and Profane Choir, and Thingamajigs Performance Group.

What is this project’s impact and benefit to the community?

  • Celebrating Harrison’s legacy and Thingamajigs’ Anniversary creates a sense of cultural continuity and local pride

  • Commissioning and staging new work from contemporary California composers helps maintain and build the artistic vibrancy of the community

  • Audience exposure to new music, especially work outside the mainstream, increases cultural literacy and encourages exploration of new sonic experience. This educational opportunity will be enhanced by artist talks or post-concert discussion.

In addition, re-discovering Lou Harrison’s work outside of the music world will be impactful and benefit all of us. Harrison’s outspoken, lifelong involvement in political activism (ranging from pre-Stonewall gay rights and early civil rights, to pacifism and countless environmental causes) garnered him icon status in many communities. He was recognized with countless awards including membership in the American Academy of Arts and Letters, “Humanitarian of the Year” by the American Humanist Association, the Michael Callen Medal of Achievement from the Annual Gay/Lesbian American Music Awards (GLAMA), and Musical America’s composer of the year 2002.


Project Media

Glimpsed from Afar
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Features: Paul Dresher

“In terms of my invented instruments, which is an outgrowth of my work with Lou” -Paul Dresher

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Features: Brian Baumbusch

Composed by Brian Baumbusch, this piece represents the first ever collaboration between the JACK Quartet and the Lightbulb Ensemble. The video is from the premiere at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. on October 29th, 2015. The piece is in three movements:
i) Hydrogen (GAS) [0:00-14:33]
ii) Hydrogen (ICE) [14:33-26:50]
iii) Oxygen (AQUA) [26:54-END]

Start and End Dates



Oakland & Joshua Tree, California

7 updates
Last update on May 8, 2017

Project Created By

Oakland, California
Thingamajigs is a genre-crossing arts organization that promotes, presents and performs music created with made and found materials or alternate tuning systems. Our mission is to develop and nurture the exploration of alternate materials and methods of creating sound, and promote collaborative efforts between artistic disciplines and practices. With open workshops, performances and educational programming, we welcome…

In Collaboration With

Berkeley, California
Santa Cruz, California


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