Lou Harrison was one of the most influential percussion composers and innovators in the United States. In fact, he was one of the great composers of the 20th century -- a pioneer in the use of alternate tunings, world music influences, and new instruments. The percussion ensemble at Utah Valley University with violinist Donna Fairbanks perform some of his major works including a concerto for violin and percussion. Percussionist Doug Smith, director of Percussion UVU, is also an active freelance musician in Salt Lake City with groups includng the Utah Symphony, Utah Opera, and Ballet West. He is a graduate of Rice University and the University of Central Missouri. Violinist Donna Fairbanks has presented recitals and masterclasses in Europe,Read more China, Mexico, Brazil and throughout the United States. She has recorded for MSR Classics, 4TAY, Tantar and Albany Records. Pianist Hilary Demske, who performs in the Varied Trio, has performed in prestigious venues across multiple continents, appearing annually in China since 2011. She is a Steinway Artist and has recorded multiple CDs for Albany Records.
Lou Harrison was one of America’s great weird composers. Like Harry Partch, Conlon Nancarrow, and John Cage, he delighted in using highly unconventional objects as sound-production mechanisms, and the pieces performed on this utterly delightful album call for the use of such items as washtubs, brake drums, and ocarina in addition to more traditional instruments. The results are generally quite direct and accessible, but also often surprising, and this recording of these works by the percussion ensemble of Utah Valley University is consistently outstanding.