- Time Loops – with Cellist Maya Beiser
- Revelation – Michael Harrison, solo piano
- With pre-concert talk by author Stuart Isacoff
- Michael Harrison, piano, with master Indian musicians
Excerpts from Time Loops Album
Maya Beiser, cellos, Payton MacDonald, shakers
I. Genesis (excerpt)
II. ChoraleIII. Ascension(excerpt)
Maya Beiser, Cello, Michael Harrison, Piano, Adam Abeshouse, Engineer/DJ
Young People’s Chorus of New York City
Francisco J. Núñez, conductor (excerpt)
Excerpts from Revelation Album
Michael Harrison’s Just Ancient Loops, an appealing mix of live and recorded cello lines, raga-inspired drones and Minimalist rhythms performed by Maya Beiser, was enhanced by Bill Morrison’s film, recorded on archival and decaying celluloid, and repurposed for Georges Méliès-style fantasy and sublimity.
The Bang on a Can Marathon is always good for a spectacle or two. The day’s glitziest work was Michael Harrison’s Just Ancient Loops, which cellist Maya Beiser performed along with some 20 electronic versions of herself.
“Say it plainly — Michael Harrison’s ‘Revelation: Music in Pure Intonation’ is probably the most brilliant and original extended composition for solo piano since the early works of Frederic Rzewski three decades ago (and no, I am not forgetting Elliott Carter).”
“This trance-inducing solo piano work is a vast experiment in “pure intonation.” Using an original tuning for the piano, Harrison makes it hum and vibrate in ways that sound both ancient and modern.”
“Standard tuning is just fine for most music, but there are other ways of tuning a piano, which produce exotic and weirdly beautiful sounds. Revelation, an often gripping 12-part suite by pianist-composer Michael Harrison, explores one of these disorienting landscapes. Like a magician setting up a trick, Harrison introduces a few of the geographical landmarks in the first movement, “Revealing the Tones”; then, just when you think, “Well, that doesn’t seem so unusual,” everything changes. Overtones gather in dense fogs in the “Tone Cloud” movements, and Harrison’s melodic strands…draw listeners through them.”
Composer/pianist Michael Harrison has been called “an American Maverick” by Philip Glass. The New York Times wrote of his recent collaboration with Grammy-winning vocal project Roomful of Teeth, “Harrison’s ‘Just Constellations’… proved particularly arresting, a celestial soundscape of gorgeous harmonies… the notes rang out like a jubilantly microtonal choir of bells.”
Harrison has collaborated or performed with filmmaker Bill Morrison, cellist Maya Beiser, Stuttgart Ballet, Kronos Quartet, JACK Quartet, Del Sol Quartet, Contemporaneous, and his mentors, composers La Monte Young, Terry Riley, and Indian vocalist Mashkoor Ali Khan. His works have been commissioned by Roomful of Teeth, Young People’s Chorus of New York City, violinist Mari Kimura, cellist Clarice Jensen, and percussionist Payton MacDonald.
His music has been performed at BAM Next Wave Festival, the Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Louvre, Centre Pompidou, MASS MoCA, Park Avenue Armory, Spoleto Festival USA, the United Nations, National Sawdust, Ojai Music Festival, Bang on a Can marathon, Other Minds, Klavier Festival Ruhr, Quattro Pianoforti in Rome, American Academy in Rome, Strings of Autumn in Prague, Havana Contemporary Music Festival, Sundance and other film festivals throughout the world.
Harmonic Constellations (New World Records, June 2016), the title track for Mari Kimura’s CD, is scored for violin with 13 pre-recorded violin tracks and sine tones. Time Loops (Cantaloupe Music), his CD with Maya Beiser, was selected for NPR’s “Top 10 Classical Albums of 2012.” Revelation: Music in Pure Intonation (Cantaloupe Music), his 75-minute work for just intonation piano,was chosen by The New York Times, Boston Globe and Time Out New York as one of the Best Classical Recordings of 2007. Critic Tim Page wrote: Michael Harrison’s ‘Revelation: Music in Pure Intonation’ is probably the most brilliant and original extended composition for solo piano since the early works of Frederic Rzewski three decades ago. Upcoming recordings include Radians Phase II for Third Sound on Innova Recordings, and Cello Constellations for Clarice Jensen on Sono Luminus. His works have also been released on New Albion Records, Important Records, and Fortuna Records.
As La Monte Young’s composition and tuning assistant in the 1980’s Harrison prepared the specialized tunings and scores for Young’s 6½-hour work, The Well-Tuned Piano, eventually becoming the only other person to perform this work. Later Harrison created the “harmonic piano,” an extensively modified grand piano able to play 24 notes per octave. He earned his M.M. in composition at the Manhattan School of Music where he studied with Reiko Fueting, and his B.M. in composition at the University of Oregon where he later received the Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award. He is a disciple of master Indian vocalist Mashkoor Ali Khan and the co-founder and president of the American Academy of Indian Classical Music. Harrison has also been on faculty at the Rhode Island School of Design, Manhattan School of Music’s Contemporary Performance Program, and Bang on a Can Summer Institute.
Recent awards include the American Composers Forum Delegation to Cuba, Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Classical Recording Foundation Award, and IBLA Foundation Grand Prize. Harrison has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, where he serves on the Fellows Executive Committee, the American Academy in Rome, MASS MoCA (with Roomful of Teeth), Yaddo, Bogliasco Foundation, Millay Colony for the Arts, Djerassi Artists Residency, Ucross Foundation, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the Atlantic Music Festival.