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The Life and Music of Harry Partch

Harry Partch (1901-1974) was a composer, music theorist, instrument maker and performer whose vagabond nature inspired him to explore the musical roads less travelled by his contemporaries. Alex Ross wrote in 2005, “Of all the triumphantly weird characters who have roamed the frontiers of American art, none ever went quite as far out as the composer Harry Partch.” Partch’s maverick tendencies and his rejection of traditional Western-European performance practices inspired his experimental music creations which often integrated ancient Greek, African, and Japanese theatrical arts with innovative uses of human speech and musical pitch, harmony and rhythm. This exhibit explores through photographs, music and words the musical choices that mattered most to him.