Lou Harrison (1917-2003) is an American composer, known for using microtones as well as music from different cultures. He had connectioned to many influencial and prominant composers. Harrison was born in Portland, Oregan, but settled in San Francisco where he studied with Henry Cowell. John Cage was also a student of Henry Cowell. In 1942, after moving to Los Angeles, he studied with Arnold Schoenburg. It was in 1975 that Harrison met K.R.T Wasitodiningrat (Pak Cokro) who encouraged him to compose for the Javanese gamelon orchestra.
Harrison's 'Double Concerto for Violin and Cello with Javanese Gamelan' (1981/1982) has three movements. The music contains rhythm that transitions gradually by speeding up or slowing down. This rhythm is called an irama, and is described as a ratio to the balungan. The balungan is a Javanese term for structure or core, and is used in this case as a reference to the core of the music - the melody.
The composition is interesting because it mixed western instruments with non western instruments.
In Harrison's 'Pipa Concerto', he again places the pipa, a non western instrument, with the western orchestra. The first movement is classical in form, the second is made up of a variety of suites, and the third movement is very melodic. The cadenza centers around dance forms.
I enjoyed listening to this music, but found it hard to relate the music to his early influences.