HARRISON HOUSE MUSIC, ARTS & ECOLOGY

For information on our program visit the Harrison House Music Arts & Ecology Website

�We believe it is important to support the work of gifted artists and environmental leaders so that their voices, actions and practices can continue to inform and shape a sustainable society.��

Harrison House Music, Arts & Ecology is a residency and performance program for international artists and thinkers based in the late composer Lou Harrison�s desert retreat in Joshua Tree, California. Harrison House stands as a monument to Lou Harrison�s lifetime of experimentation, artistry and environmentalism as well as his commitment to encouraging creativity in others. With increasing urgency near the end of his life, Harrison urged those around him to �Keep it going!�

Continuing in this spirit Eva Soltes founded the Harrison House Artist Residency program in 2006 which has evolved into Harrison House Music, Arts & Ecology. Harrison House Music, Arts & Ecology invites gifted individuals into this historic and remarkable environment conducive to creativity, and provides them with an opportunity to share their art and ideas with audiences in an intimate setting. In addition to providing an enriching, replenishing, and at times collaborative setting to dedicated artists and thinkers, the program offers high quality performing arts and workshops to the local and visiting community. It is also home to the Lou Harrison Documentary Project as well as a considerable media archive of composers, music and dance that has been amassed over the past forty years by Eva Soltes.

HISTORY OF HARRISON HOUSE

Harrison House is the straw bale "composer�s cave" that Lou Harrison completed in 2002 on the edge of Joshua Tree National Park. Of his chosen construction method Lou Harrison noted, "America grows enough straw in one year to satisfy all of its building needs." The design, inspired by the great Egyptian architect Hassan Fathy, is a unique structure featuring a vaulted hall that measures 36' X 12' with a sixteen foot ceiling-- proportions chosen by Harrison to create a superb and intimate sound environment for acoustic music. Harrison had one year to visit and enjoy his studio retreat where he worked on his final musical composition "Scenes from Nek Chand" for custom-made steel guitar.

This structure is a special integration of design, form, materials, light, acoustics and history. The experience of being inside has been likened to a chapel, mosque or temple. It is a special gem of approximately 1,000 square feet. The vaulted main room is flanked on both sides by three equal-sized spaces. To the north are three outdoor patios separated by rounded buttresses. To the south is a "monkish" bedroom, a bathroom with all fixtures built into the corners, and a fully equipped kitchen in which Harrison�s long-time friend, and renowned artist/choreographer, Remy Charlip painted the cabinetry. Artists who have been in residence have continued to adorn the house with their work.

Harrison chose Joshua Tree as the location for his retreat because the dry desert air agreed with him, the stark beauty and desert ecology attracted him and he delighted in taking his friends on tours of the area. A rich cultural history, surreal geological features and a fascinating variety of plants and animals describes the area in and around Joshua Tree National Park. The arts also hold a place in its history, including prehistoric petroglyphs and historic murals painted on buildings throughout the nearby town of Twentynine Palms. Artists have been visiting the Joshua Tree desert for decades to nourish their creativity and this burgeoning arts community continues to flourish.




To support the continuance of this cultural gem, and to "keep it going" and growing, please visit the DONATE page.