His Music and Philosophy

    Harry arrived late in life upon the musical scene and approached his studies with an intense vigor.    While at UCSD, Harry continued his formal musical studies and started a routine of private mentors that continues to the present.    He worked through the complete text of “Harmony and Voice Leading” by Aldwell and Schachter with Stefan Schermerhorn; followed with Piano and theory; then an introduction to computer music with Christopher Tonkin; and a look into spectral composition with Rick Snow.    He acknowledges that Dr. Steve Takasugi was one of his most im-portant influences in the composition of the

Orfeo Suite” wherein Harry returned to his classical

interests  where myth emerges as central to a major

undertaking.    He completed “The Lament” - in

which there is a sublimated sexuality of the

Orpheus Legend combined with striking and
original pathos - to yield an exciting and expressive

retelling of the ‘lament’ of Orpheus for the loss of

Eurydice.   An incessant piano throbs through the

work for tenor to capture the intensity of the hero’s

love and loss .... and to create an usual and

poignant musical adventure.    Later, Harry added

The Bacchanalia’, for small ensemble, in which

Orpheus is torn asunder and subsequently set

among the stars as a reminder to all of his great


With Christopher Tonkin of IRCAM , Harry developed a solo percussion piece using the Fibonacci Series both in the organization and the tone structure of  “The Caribe - during a Rainstorm”.    Based upon his memory of rain squalls approaching his thatched-roof home in Jamaica, this work marked an important change from ‘common practice era’ compositional techniques and commenced a new vista of musical territory for the composer.

                                                                     His next important work came as a result of an

                                                                     event while alone on a ski lift at Grindelwald,

                                                                     Switzerland, in 2003.    For a moment, Harry

                                                                     shared the solitude of the Universe with a

                                                                     singular mountain goat (chamois) as he

                                                                     passed over on the lift.   There was a moment

                                                                     of transcendental unity as if only these two

                                                                     beings were all that existed in Creation.   The

                                                                     resultant involvement conferred a strange

                                                                     coloristic resource upon his work, “The

                                                                     Chamois - transfigured”.     Harry’s aesthetic outlook in this work is perfectly suited to the extraordinary personal quality of the encounter.   Returning to modal scales once again, Harry became involved with the interplay of two different scales so as to reach a spatial aspect of the musical sounds associated with the two ‘characters’ of the piece.   The combination and interplay of the solo cello and solo flute passages create a spatial dimensionality that leads the listener to new regions of emotion and imagination.

Once again shunning traditional scales, “The Rubaiyat Suite” for cello, flute, alto flute and soprano reflects Harry’s diversified output - from music ensconced in Western tradition to an appreciation  of contemporary musical forms with their atonal and multi-tonal influences.    Although originally conceived and composed for solo cello, Harry soon realized that additional scoring was needed to adequately capture the ‘sense’ of each quatrain of the text and that more instrumentation and voice were required - especially to bring the music out of the past into the contemporary.

Harry’s overall aesthetic outlook has been shaped by an amalgam of his roots and his willingness to explore and to experiment with computer concepts and to incorporate electronic elements in more recent works.    He comments, “The technology of today offers new means to combine and augment the formality of our heritages in music with a plethora of coloristic resources.”   As in his innovative use of word processing before its general acceptance, Harry strives to be both an explorer and visionary composer/mentor who will lead audiences into new regions of excitement.

Even late in his life on the musical

scene, Harry has exerted significant

influence upon the music of today and

tomorrow through awards and grants

made personally and through the Harry

and Alice Eiler  Foundation.  This pro-

gram of financial assistance in form

of commissions, grants, equipment,

fiscal support to outstanding com-

posers and performers is creating

truly interesting and inspiring music

today and shall continue in years to                    Luncheon with the first Staubach Honoraria

come.   At this writing, these emerging

composers include:

Christopher Tonkin, Richard Snow, Matthew McBane, Ryan Carter, Nicholas De Maison,  Christine Southwirth,  Aaron Helgeson, Felipe Lara, Trevor Bača, Stefan Beyer, Ashley Rose Fure, Brian Archinal; musicologists/educators Michael Pisani and Martin Iddon; percussionist/composer Jenkins,  cellist Geoffrey Gartner, pianist Luciane Cardassi, saxophonist Michael Ibrahim,  percussionists Alex Lipowski and Brian Archinal, and violinist Christopher Otto as well as the JACK and Calder Quartets and the following ensembles:  Either/Or , Talea, Ensemble XII, RIO, the vocal group Ekimeles and, most recently, Yarn/Wire.

Harry Eiler is represented by B.M.I

and is a member of American Music Center.

Meet-the-Composer, Inc.

and the American Composers Forum