This session is held at Northeastern University's Fenway Center, adjacent to the NEC campus on Gainsborough Street. Campus map.
Harry Partch (1901–1974), while one of America's best-known maverick composers, is also one of the least performed—mainly due to the one-of-a-kind instruments he created in order to generate the sounds his music demanded. The instruments themselves are difficult to transport, and they require performers with specialized knowledge of how Partch intended them to be used.
This week during a symposium and festival, co-hosted by New England Conservatory and Northeastern University, many of Partch's instruments will travel from New Jersey to NEC's Jordan Hall, with the help of their custodian, Dean Drummond. Visitors will be able to examine them and hear them used in concert. Scholars will gather to explore the continuing impact of Partch’s work, with a combination of academic conference sessions, interactive workshops, and concert performances housed at both NEC and Northeastern.
Thomas Oesterdiekhoff, CEO of Cologne-based Ensemble musikFabrik, and Beate Schüler, program director of the Schumannfest Düsseldorf, deliver a lecture on work done in preparation of the 2013 Ruhrtriennale. In this pioneering start to further performances in Germany and Europe, composer and director Heiner Goebbels, the director of Ruhrtriennale, will stage Partch’s central work Delusion of the Fury (1965–66) in its European premiere, together with Ensemble musikFabrik.
The whole range of Partch’s invented instruments will be reconstructed in Europe by Ensemble musikFabrik for the first time, and the members of this ensemble will learn to play them. The collection of instruments will also offer a good opportunity for children and young people to come into contact with the non-European perspective of Partch’s work and music, as well as his notion of “corporeality,” embracing the social and physical importance of his music.
Harry Partch is best known as a radically individualistic musical experimentalist, an emblematic “American maverick.” Seeking to create a music close to human speech, he found himself “seduced into carpentry” to create an orchestra of unique instruments and a substantial corpus of instrumental, vocal and dramatic works. His 25-year career cut across composition, music theory, and instrument building, and its conscious links to music making outside of Europe have attracted the attention of a diverse following of listeners, musicians and scholars.
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