The University of Washington School of Music and The Center for Digital Arts and Experimental Media (DXARTS) co-sponsor this series featuring groundbreaking new works and modern classics by faculty and guest composers. In this concert, New Jersey-based Newband, directed by Dean Drummond, performs three masterworks by Harry Partch as well as pieces by Dean Drummond and Mathew Rosenblum. Program selections include Harry Partch: Castor and Pollux, Eleven Intrusions, and Barstow; Dean Drummond: Congressional Record or Before the Last Laugh; and Mathew Rosenblum: Yonah's Dream.
Newband was founded in 1977 by composer Dean Drummond and flutist Stefani Starin, who continue as Artistic Directors. With Drummond's invention of the 31-tone zoomoozophone in 1978, Newband began to explore music using microtonality and alternative tuning systems. In 1990, Newband received custodianship of the original Harry Partch Instrument Collection and has since been involved with resurrecting Partch’s great works while commissioning new works for what is now perhaps the most unique instrument collection in the world.
Newband has performed throughout North America and Europe including at The Library of Congress, Barbican Hall, The Walker Arts Center, The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Avery Fisher Hall, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, The Kitchen and The Knitting Factory. Newband has premiered works by Muhal Richard Abrams, Elizabeth Brown, John Cage, Dean Drummond, Joan La Barbara, Anne LeBaron, Harry Partch, Mathew Rosenblum, Ezra Sims, Lasse Thoresen, Lois V Vierk, Julia Wolfe and John Zorn, among numerous others. Newband has produced five CD’s, two on Mode, and one each on Music and Arts, Innova and Wergo; and performed on CD’s of music by Julia Wolfe (on Point) and Lasse Thoresen (on Aurora).
Newband currently consists of a core of nine virtuosic multi-instrumentalists and two singers, equally at home in concert performances and in productions involving theater, dance and film. Newband productions have included major works by Harry Partch: The Wayward (directed by Tom O’Horgan), Oedipus (directed by Bob McGrath), Daphne of the Dunes (choreographed by Alice Farley), Delusion of the Fury (directed by John Jesurun); and by Dean Drummond: a live soundtrack by for F.W. Murnau’s landmark silent film The Last Laugh (Der Letzte Mann), the chamber opera Café Buffé, and The Golden Bird for narrator, microtonal soloists and orchestra. Newband has pursued many educational projects, including in-school residencies and the creation of a new music children's show.
The Harry Partch Instrument Collection is the largest component of the Newband Instrumentarium, including all of the instruments built by the composer-inventor during the period 1930-1974, as well as several instruments replicated by the Harry Partch Foundation and Newband since 1974. Other instruments in the Newband Instrumentarium are the zoomoozophone and juststrokerods, both invented by Dean Drummond, microtonally programmed synthesizer, and a large collection of exotic percussion instruments. Newband performs on the Instrumentarium as well as standard Western instruments - flute, cello and percussion regularly - voices, clarinet, brass and strings as repertoire demands. Since 1999, Newband has been Artist Ensemble in Residence, with the Harry Partch Instrument Collection, at Montclair State University.
Dean Drummond is a composer, conductor, multi-instrumentalist, music instrument inventor, co-director of Newband, and Associate Professor and Director of the Harry Partch Institute in the John J Cali School of Music, at Montclair State University.
His music has been performed internationally in venues ranging from The Knitting Factory and The Kitchen to Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall and Barbican Center; has been recorded on five CD’s, and has received numerous awards and commissions including a Guggenheim Fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts and The Library of Congress.
Drummond received degrees in music composition from the University of Southern California and California Institute of the Arts. While a student, he worked as musician for and assistant to Harry Partch, performing in the premieres of some of Partch’s greatest works as well as on both Columbia Masterworks recordings of Partch’s music made during the late 1960's. Recent compositions include: Café Buffé (2006), a microtonal chamber opera; and The Golden Bird (2009), for narrator, microtonal soloists and orchestra and Round (2010), an electric guitar quartet.
As Co-director of Newband, Drummond has been Music Director of Harry Partch’s Delusion of the Fury at Japan Society, Oedipus at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Montclair State University, and The Wayward at The Bang on a Can Festival.
Drummond is inventor of the zoomoozophone and juststrokerods.
Mathew Rosenblum's music explores how seemingly independent musical voices and traditions may be woven together into a newly expressive whole. Using a variety of tuning systems, his work does not live within traditional boundaries, creating a compelling fresh landscape.
His works have been performed throughout the world. A wide array of groups have commissioned and performed and recorded his music, such as The Boston Modern Orchestra Project, the Harry Partch Institute, The American Composers Orchestra, the Rascher Saxophone Quartet, the Chicago Contemporary Players, the Calmus Ensemble of Leipzig, the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, and Sequitur.
His honors include four Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Music Fellowship Grants, a Heinz Endowments Creative Heights Award, two Fromm Foundation Commissions, a National Endowment for the Arts Music Fellowship Grant, a Barlow Endowment Commission, and a New York Foundation for the Arts Artists Fellowship Grant.
Rosenblum is Professor of composition and Chair of the Department of Music at the University of Pittsburgh, where he also co-directs the Music on the Edge new music series.< Back