MEMETERIA by Thomas May

Music & the Arts

Farewell to the Harry Partch Instrumentarium

It was only in 2014 that the fabulous collection of Harry Partch Instruments found a new home at the University of Washington’s School of Music. While being kept there, the collection has been brought out for numerous performances — including an event I got to cover last year under the collection’s caretaker, Charles Corey.

Seattle-based cellist Peter Tracey writes about the value of having these instruments available to anyone curious about them: “I learned from a friend who played in the Partch ensemble that it was open to just about anybody: all you had to do was ask. Soon after, I did, and that decision has shaped my life as a musician ever since.”

Tracey also tells the story of how Corey came to be given responsibility for overseeing the collection and how they ended up at UW in Seattle. Sadly, he reports that UW “has decided not to renew the Partch instruments’ residency here in Seattle, and the collection will likely be moving on to a new home in the coming year.”

I haven’t heard yet of any definite plans for the next stage on the journey of the Partch instruments. Later in the month, on November 19, 21, and 22, there will be three more chances to encounter them one more time in Seattle in a trio of programs at Meany Hall’s Studio Theater.

The performance on November 21 will present an all-Partch program consisting of Barstow, selections from Eleven Intrusions, San Francisco, Dark Brother, Castor & Pollux, The Potion Scene (from Romeo and Juliet), and And on the Seventh Day Petals Fell in Petaluma.

Filed under: Harry Partch, music news

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