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

Harry Partch Fest at the University of Washington

I was lucky to catch last night’s concert, part of a weekend festival exploring the music and ideas of Harry Partch at the University of Washington.

Here’s a video of curator and professor Charles Corey introducing the Harry Partch instruments collection at UW.

Here’s a video of the final part of Partch’s The Wayward, his collection of hobo-themed pieces set during the Great Depression:

Filed under: American music, Harry Partch

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

RSS Arts & Culture Stories from NPR

  • 'Your Honor' Captures A Horrifying Spiral Of Accidents — And Consequences
    Bryan Cranston is a judge whose life is torn apart when his teen son is involved in a car accident with a mobster's son. The legal twists and dramatic turns are nonstop in this Showtime miniseries.
  • Rosie Perez: The Flight Attendant
    Rosie Perez talks about recording safety messages for the New York City subway, her new show The Flight Attendant, and plays a game where she finishes Muhammad Ali's sentences.
  • More, More, Moray
    What has more eyes, a starfish or a scallop? Big Mouth's Ayo Edebiri and her fellow "Iconography" podcast host Olivia Craighead compare animals and guess which has more of a thing.
  • Yeahs In History
    In this audio quiz, Big Mouth's Ayo Edebiri and her fellow "Iconography" podcast host Olivia Craighead identify songs with the word "yeah" in them. Ohhhhh yeahhhhhhh.
  • Musical Food Pyramid
    Jonathan Coulton plays songs by bands named after food rewritten to be about those foods. Fortune Feimster (Chick Fight) and Jillian Bell (Brittany Runs A Marathon) absolutely crush it.
  • Bad To The Future II
    Comedians and actors Fortune Feimster and Jillian Bell guess what people in the past thought the future would be like.
  • Check-In: Milestone Birthdays
    Jonathan Coulton talks about celebrating a milestone birthday during the pandemic.
  • 'Mank' Is A Lushly Rendered Cinematic Landscape
    David Fincher's dramatization of Citizen Kane's origin story is an impressive, if occasionally inert, biopic.
  • In 'Sound Of Metal,' Sudden Hearing Loss Sends A Drummer Reeling
    Riz Ahmed gives a quiet, intense and profoundly unsentimental performance as a rock drummer who suddenly loses his hearing and stubbornly refuses to accept it.
  • More Evidence TV Doesn't Reflect Real Life Diversity
    A new study from the Nielsen company shows women, Latinos, Native Americans and older Americans are under-represented on TV.