REDCAT and CalArts present Partch DARK/Partch light
Los Angeles, CA, May 12, 2009--Partch, the critically acclaimed microtonal ensemble, returns to REDCAT with Partch DARK/Partch light, a multimedia survey of the one-of-a-kind American composer and raconteur, Harry Partch. Highlighting the maverick's multihued, many-splendored musical personalities--from contemplative to whimsical, from darkly brooding to achingly hilarious, Partch DARK/Partch light comes to REDCAT Friday, May 29, 2009 and Saturday, May 30, 2009 at 8:30pm.
The ensemble, directed by John Schneider, fills the stage with their fantastic array of Partch's custom-built microtonal instruments and the auditorium with "Weird and wonderful sonorities, truly unlike anything else on Earth or any neighboring celestial body" (LA Weekly). The evening's program features the out-and-out zaniness of Yankee Doodle Fantasy; the forlorn and beautiful Eleven Intrusions; the intensely anguished Dark Brother (a setting of Thomas Wolfe's "God's Lonely Man"); and the cheerful loopiness of Two Settings from Finnegans Wake and O Frabjous Day! (Jabberwocky).
Also on the program is a rare screening of Madeline Tourtelot's art-house film Windsong (1958, 18 min.), which explores the Puritan American sex ethic through the myth of Apollo and Daphne. The film's score was composed and performed by Harry Partch on ten of his custom-built instruments.
Partch DARK/Partch light is funded in part with generous support from Abby Sher.
Tickets are $25, with student discounts available. Seating is general admission. Tickets and information at the REDCAT box office, 213.237.2800 or www.redcat.org.
REDCAT, the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater, is located at the corner of W. 2nd and Hope Streets, inside the Walt Disney Concert Hall complex (631 West 2nd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012).
About Harry Partch
Harry Partch (1901-1974) was one of the most individualistic composers of all time as well as an innovative theorist who broke through the shackles of many centuries of one tuning system for all of Western music. Between 1930 and 1972, Partch created a uniquely radical and innovative body of work. In order to meet the needs of his compositions, he became an inventor, custom building dozens of incredible instruments, as well as a musical dramatist writing his own texts and dance/theatre extravaganzas based on everything from Greek mythology to his own experiences as a hobo. As a child living in isolated areas of the American southwest with parents who were former missionaries to China, Partch was exposed to a variety of influences from Asian to Native American. So when he dropped out of the University of Southern California, he began studying on his own, questioning both the tuning and the philosophical foundations of Western music. In 1930, Partch broke with European tradition and forged a new music based on a more primal, corporeal integration of the elements of speech with music, using principles of natural acoustic resonance (just intonation) and expanded melodic and harmonic possibilities. He began to first adapt guitars and violas to play his music, and then began to build new instruments in a new microtonal tuning system. He built over 25 instruments, plus numerous small hand instruments, and became a brilliant spokesman for his ideas. Largely ignored by the musical establishment during his lifetime, he criticized concert traditions, the roles of the performer and composer, the role of music in society, the 12-tone equal-temperament scale, and the concept of "pure" or abstract music. To explain his philosophical and intonational ideas, he wrote a treatise, Genesis of a Music, which has served as a primary source of information and inspiration to many musicians.
Partch is a unique ensemble that specializes in the music and instruments of the iconoclastic American maverick composer Harry Partch. Since their formation as Just Strings in 1991 to perform the music of Lou Harrison and Harry Partch, the group has gone on to commission and premiere works by Larry Polansky, Mamoru Fujieda, John Luther Adams, Mari Takano, Sasha Bogdonawitsch and others. In 1995 they toured Japan under the auspices of the American Embassy's prestigious Interlink Festival, giving three weeks of concerts and lectures on new music. In 2005, with the completion of their twelfth Partch instrument, the group began performing under the name Partch. They have performed for Chamber Music in Historic Sites, the LA County Museum of Art, UCLA's Partch Centennial Celebration, Sacramento's Festival of New American Music, Minnesota Public Radio's American Mavericks, Mills College, and the Getty Center. In 2004, they made their REDCAT debut premiering Harry Partch's Bitter Music, and have returned every year since.
The Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater, opened by CalArts in 2003, introduces diverse audiences, students and artists to the most influential developments in the arts from around the world, and gives artists in this region the creative support they need to achieve national and international stature. REDCAT is the newest partner in an international network of adventurous art and performance centers, which together are playing a vital role in the evolution of contemporary culture. REDCAT is a center for experimentation, discovery and lively civic discourse.
REDCAT sponsors include The Standard, Ovation TV, KCRW and LA Weekly.