The Harry Partch Legacy: Microtonal Constructions and Intercultural Dialogues

Co-sponsored by the Center for the Arts and the Department of Music in the College of Arts, Media and Design at Northeastern University and the New England Conservatory. Additional support provided by the Harry Partch Foundation and the Goethe-Institut Boston.


NewBand (Dean Drummond & Stefani Starin, Directors)
Bob Gilmore (Brunel University)
Kyle Gann (Bard College)
Danlee Mitchell (Harry Partch Foundation)

The composer Harry Partch (1901-74) 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.

This three-day event will explore the continuing impact of Partch’s work, with a combination of academic conference sessions, interactive workshops, and concert performances.

For more information on the entire symposium and festival schedule please visit:

Highlighted concerts

Harry Partch: Lyrics and Inscriptions
Wednesday, September 19

Williams Hall at the New England Conservatory 

7:30 PM
Pre-concert talk with Thomas McGeary

Concert 1
Featuring John Schneider & Manfred Stahnke: Ansichten eines Käfers (1991) — Robert Ward, guitar — North American premiere
Kyle Gann: The Unnameable (2012) — Won-Hee An, keyboard
John Schneider, adapted viola and adapted guitar

  • Harry Partch: Selections from Seventeen lyrics of Li Po (1931-33) for adapted viola and intoning voice
  • Harry Partch: By the rivers of Babylon (1931/41) for adapted viola and intoning voice
  • Harry Partch: December 1942 (1942) for adapted guitar and voice
  • Harry Partch: Barstow (1941) for adapted guitar and voice

Harry Partch: Images and Intrusion
Thursday, September 20
Jordan Hall at the New England Conservatory 

7:30 PM
Pre-concert talk with Dean Drummond

8:00 PM
Concert 2 featuring Dean Drummond

Newband (Dean Drummond and Stefani Starin, Directors)

  • Dean Drummond, Before the Last Laugh (1995)
  • Mathew Rosenblum, Yonah’s dream (2008)
  • Dean Drummond, Congressional Record (1999)
  • Harry Partch, O frabjous day! (The Jabberwock), from Two studies from Lewis Carroll (1954)
  • Harry Partch, Eleven intrusions (1949–50)

$20 + $2 fee general public
$15 + $2 fee faculty/senior citizens/other students
FREE to Northeastern and NEC students


After Partch: Extensions of the Spirit
Friday, September 21, 2012
Fenway Center at Northeastern University 

7:30 PM
Pre-concert talk with Georg Hajdu and Manfred Stahnke

8:00 PM Concert 3

  • Brian Robison: Aurora corporealis (2012)* — Brian Robison, theremin and electronics
  • Georg Hajdu: Re: Guitar (1999)+ — Robert Ward, guitar
  • Katarina Miljkovic: Sierpinski Triangle in 43 Steps (2012)* — Katarina Miljkovic, electronics
  • Manfred Stahnke: Diamantenpracht (2005)+ — Ioana Comsa, harp
  • Hubert Ho: Tinged (2012)* — Gabriela Diaz, violin; Robert Ward, guitar
  • Julia Werntz: Group dance (2004) — Jesse Rosinski, flute; Jay Hutchinson, clarinet; Gabriela Diaz, violin; Christine Lamprea, ‘cello; David Tarantino, percussion; James Bergin, conductor* world premiere + North American premiere

*World premier
+North American premier

Organized by Brian Robison, Northeastern University Department of Music