The American composer Harry Partch (1901 – 1974) is widely regarded as one of the first composers to almost exclusively specialize in microtonality. During the course of his life, he not only developed a highly complex tonal system, but also built an extensive collection of instruments, with which he produced these sounds with a formidable stage presence.
The musikFabrik ensemble reconstructed the instruments which Partch developed, learned to play them and presented them on stage. The public presentation began with the European premiere of Partch’s late work Delusion of the Fury at the Ruhr Triennial 2013, conducted by Heiner Goebbels.
The reconstruction of the microtonal instrumentation has been based on the only fully preserved collection of instruments on display at the Harry Partch Institute in New Jersey, which may only be used for research purposes. The reconstruction project represented an important step toward maintaining and revitalizing Partch’s musical legacy. In the future, contemporary composers will be allowed to use the reconstructed instruments to create new pieces. The project also planned on offering instrumental workshops to musicians, children and young people by members of the musikFabrik ensemble.
Artistic director: Thomas Oesterdiekhoff; Orchestra: Ensemble musikFabrik
Bochum, Ruhr Triennial, Jahrhunderthalle, 23., 24., 30., 31. August and 1., 6., 7., 8. Sept. 2013