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

  • XXX
    Everything's bigger in Texas, but some places are bigger than Texas. In this final round, contestants guess whether a geographic area is larger than the Lone Star state.
  • Guac-pocalypse Now With Robert Earl Keen
    Singer-songwriter and Tex-Mex fan Robert Earl Keen tackles questions about other guac-troversies.
  • Queso-ra Sera
    Inspired by San Antonio's queso connection, Ask Me Another's house musician Jonathan Coulton performs another music parody about cheese.
  • Seven-tonio
    Quick: Name the seven deadly sins. In this game, contestants face-off in a game where they go back-and-forth, trying to name every item in a list of seven.
  • Stadium Sounds
    In this college football audio quiz, contestants guess the school based on sounds you'd hear at the team's home stadium.
  • Remember the Something-O
    In an ode to The Alamo, contestants answer every question with a word that ends in the letter 'O.'
  • Robert Earl Keen: Texas Troubadour
    Musician Robert Earl Keen shares how foosball led to a career in music, and how he met Lyle Lovett on his front porch. Then he demonstrates another superpower: knowing every U.S. president's birthday.
  • Helen Fisher: How Does Love Affect The Brain?
    Helen Fisher says love is a biological drive and a survival mechanism. She discusses the science of love and how much control we have over who we love, how we love, and whether that love lasts.
  • Katie Hood: When Does Unhealthy Love Turn Into Abuse?
    Unhealthy relationships don't start out unhealthy. But Katie Hood says you have to pay attention to some critical signs at that early stage, and learn the skills for healthy love.
  • Dessa: How Can You Fall Out Of Love?
    For years, musician Dessa tried to get over a toxic relationship. But she couldn't figure out how — until she tried something unconventional: using neuroscience to dull her feelings for her ex.