Newband and the Harry Partch Instruments


March 19, 2011 - 8:00pm

Music on the Edge and The Andy Warhol Museum will present Newband and the Harry Partch instruments at the New Hazlett Theater on March 19th. The masters of microtonal music will perform on instruments invented by the iconoclastic Just Intonation composer Harry Partch (1901-1974) as well as instruments invented by composer and Newband co-founder Dean Drummond.

Newband’s concert in Pittsburgh will feature the Harry Partch works Castor and Pollux and Two Studies on Ancient Greek Scales, Dean Drummond’s Before the Last Laugh, Pitt faculty composer Mathew Rosenblum’s Yonah's Dream, Gregg Rossetti's Mutating Aeon, and Thelonius Monk’s 'Round Midnight. All the compositions will utilize just tunings—tunings that replicate intervals as they occur naturally in the overtone series. From Bach’s time to the present, Western instruments have been designed around a division of the octave into 12 equal steps, making all the intervals somewhat out of tune, so that the will sound mostly in tune regardless of the music’s key. Deeply dissatisfied with the sound of equal-tempered intervals, Harry Partch designed his instruments around his own 43 tone-per-octave just tuning, allowing for much more subtle melodic motion, as well as intervals that are more in tune and stable.

Widely regarded as the world's preeminent microtonal music ensemble, Newband was founded in 1977 by composer Dean Drummond and flutist Stefani Starin who continue as Artistic Directors.  With Drummond's invention of the 31-tone zoomoozophone in 1978, Newband began to explore music using microtonality and alternative tuning systems in an innovative and eclectic repertoire influenced by classical, jazz, and world music.  In 1990, Newband received custodianship of the original Harry Partch Instrument Collection. The typical Newband concert involves a stage filled with some of the world's most amazing musical instruments performed upon by an ensemble of virtuosos who move from instrument to instrument with incredible ease.

Tickets in advance though ProArts: general admission $15, non-Pitt students and seniors $10. At the door: general admission $20, students and seniors $15. Pitt students: free with ID.

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