Harry Partch’s Instruments Move to Seattle

Today I received an email from Danlee Mitchell, the owner of the instruments, regarding the fate of Harry Partch’s incredible instruments:

The instruments of Harry Partch are soon to arrive at a new home at the University of Washington, in Seattle. This fortuitous move was expedited by Charles Corey, and consummated by the enlightened vision of Dr. Richard Karpen, Director of the School of Music, UW, and the financial support of the UW. Thanks to these two individuals, and the UW School of Music, for the potential endeavor that this residency will surely bring about. Charles Corey will become the Director of the Harry Partch Instrumentarium at the UW with the full support of those who continue to uphold the Partch legacy.

The instruments have been in residence at Montclair State University in New Jersey since 1999 and under the care of Dean Drummond. In that time Dean established the Harry Partch Instrumentarium, created a Partch curriculum, and directed a performing ensemble dedicated to Harry’s music. These performances included full productions of Oedipus Rex in 2005 and Delusion of the Fury in 2007.

In April 2013 Dean died from complications due to multiple myeloma. Charles Corey, a student of Dean’s, was selected to succeed him. Shortly after he was appointed it was announced that the instruments would end their 15-year residency at Montclair. Charles—who we all know as Chuck—notified students and friends of the decision in January 2014.

Charles Corey rehearsing Verse 21 from On The Seventh Day Pedals Fell In Petaluma

Charles Corey (right) and Monika Szumski (left) rehearsing Verse 21 from And on the Seventh Day Petals Fell in Petaluma for the final concert at Montclair on April 25, 2014. (Photo Credit: Steven Severinghaus)

In the 18 months I’ve lived in the Greater New York area I had the great fortune to meet Chuck and to work under his direction. In April 2014 I performed Barstow with four of his students and realized a dream of mine to personally engage with Harry’s work. I was also fortunate enough to assist in the packing the instruments away and preparing them for shipment across the country to Seattle.

Harry's instruments, packed and boxed for shipment

Harry’s instruments, packed and boxed for shipment; many of the instruments have specially designed cases.

Although I am sad that I won’t be able to make regular visits to Harry’s instruments, I am glad that they have found a new home, and a supportive institution. I look forward to hearing about the activities of the instruments in their new home.


Follow @harry_partch on twitter for the latest information regarding the original set of instruments.

Visit Steven Severinghaus’ flickr album for recent photographs of Harry’s instruments.

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