Partch Ensemble

Partch Ensemble Grammy Ceremony Partch at REDCAT Partch & Orozco

Stunning… —Los Angeles Times

Marvelous to watch and to hear… —LA Weekly

Splendid musicians...a true garden of delights

—Lou Harrison

Partch is the Grammy® winning ensemble that specializes in the music & instruments of the iconoclastic American Maverick composer Harry Partch who, between 1930 and 1972, created one of the most amazing bodies of sensually alluring and emotionally powerful music of the 20th century. Partch wrote music drama, dance theater, multi-media extravaganzas, vocal music and chamber music—all to be performed on the extraordinary orchestra of instruments that he designed and built himself.

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, the Songlines series at Mills College, and the Gordon Getty Concerts at the Getty Center. In 2004, they  made their Disney Hall debut premiering Harry Partch’s Bitter Music, and have returned every year since.

Their CD Just West Coast was CD Reviews “CD of the Year” in 1994, & inducted into Fanfare’s “Classical Hall of Fame” (2003). Their recording of Sasha Matson's The 5th Lake was released by New Albion Records, while their latest, Just Guitars (2003), appears on Bridge Records. Partch is the resident ensemble of MicroFest, Los Angeles’ yearly festival of microtonal music.

Their 2006 performance of “Castor & Pollux,” choreographed by Liz Hoefner, was released on the DVD Enclosure 8: Harry Partch (Innova Records). In 2007, Partch performed in Albuquerque (36th Annual Composer’s Symposium), Santa Cruz ( April in Santa Cruz Festival of New Music), Oakland (Mills College Partch Dances premiering Molissa Fenley’s new choreography of “Castor & Pollux”), Disney Hall (their annual REDCAT multimedia survey of Partch’s music), LA’s outdoor festival Grand Performances, and were awarded grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Copland Fund for Music to record Partch’s monumental Bitter Music for Bridge Records. Their 2008 season included the world re-premiere of Partch’s hour long Plectra & Percussion Dances (1952), a week-long residency at Salt Lake City’s RDT (Repertory Dance Theater), and performing opening week at the exciting new Broad Stage for critically acclaimed Jacaranda music series. In 2009, Partch gave the LA premiere of the composer’s 11 Intrusions, and traveled to Mexico on a NEA sponsored exchange with the Guadalajara International Book Fair. 2010 included their performance at LACMA to celebrate the John Baldessari retropective Pure Beauty, while in 2011, they gave the SoCal premiere of Summer 1955, & released their premiere recording of Partch’s Bitter Music, and were featured by the San Francisco Symphony’s American Mavericks Festival in 2012.

For more about Partch, visit www.Partch.LA.

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Funny, moving, inventive and insanely theatrical…an unforgettable performance.

—San Francisco Chronicle

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The ensemble that calls itself, simply, Partch—its weird and wonderful sonorities, truly unlike anything else on Earth or any neighboring celestial body, filled the air at REDCAT most enchantingly. Marvelous to watch and to hear, the physical beauty of their structure and the haunting resonance of their sounds, as they wandered among the labyrinthine designs of Partch’s 43-note octaves and the vagaries of their percussive adventures, re-created the living experience as it was when Partch and his gang were among us.

—Alan Rich, LA Weekly 

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Every seat in REDCAT was taken, and the audience was the elusive devoted dream crowd that classical presenters lust after: young and old, hipsters, academics and nerds, all sharing a passion for Partch…The performances were stunning. Partch made a big point of the corporeality of performance. His instruments and tuning were intended to reach a listener physically, even erotically. He wanted performers who were physical presences. And he got them in the likes of Erin Barnes on the Diamond Marimba, whose performances were spectacular dances in themselves. The same could be said for David Johnson (cloud chamber bowls) and T.J. Troy (bass marimba).

— Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times

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Schneider, whose gracious stage personality is the opposite of Partch’s, nevertheless manages toconvey the composer through his own voice, which is exactly what all lasting music must be capable of sustaining, even in such unique works as Barstow and excerpts from Partch’s journal, Bitter Music….Enthralling, as well, was the entire ensemble which has impressively mastered Partch's instruments... performances lyrical and theatrical, emphasized the musical side of a composer too often known for his quirkiness.

—Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times (2001)

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World-class tribute....(Partch) managed their exotic gadgetry with appealing skill.... John Schneider - guitarist, composer, baritone, microtonal guru…delivered a pretty good facsimile of the old boy’s stentorian growl…as long as there are John Schneiders to re-create passably the sounds of Partch,  we'll have a tenuous grip on this unique byway in the annals of American innovation.

— Alan Rich, LA Weekly (2001)

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Best of 2008—The Artists' Artists

— Artforum

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Instruments

Discography