Color Theory

Photo by Jon Rohrer
Photo by Jon Rohrer

PRISM Quartet will partner with the Grammy-winning ensemble Partch and composer Ken Ueno to create and present a new work for saxophones and beautifully reconstructed Harry Partch instruments, originally built by the American composer/inventor from 1930–1972. Partch’s “Instrumentariam” is full of strange and striking creations, such as Spoils of War, the Eucal Blossom, and Cloud Chamber Bowls.

Ueno will build on the traditions of Partch instruments and the saxophone to discover new sound worlds. The project will also address issues of cultural identity. Ueno’s music coalesces Heavy Metal, sub-tone and Tuvan throat singing, European avant-garde, American experimentalism, and Japanese sawari into a democratic sonic landscape. He writes: “Not belonging to the dominant cultures of Western classical music, I have thought extensively about my participation in it, and my relationship to the neo-colonizing legacy of the Western canon. One great savior of mine in addressing these quandaries of participation and relevance has been Harry Partch, whose example offered me hope that I can claim a space for individual identity, culture, and artistic practice, rather than conform to a social model. Harry Partch helped me to shed the uniform of European modernism. The opportunity to work with Partch instruments and the virtuosos of PRISM will be the fulfillment of a dream – reconnecting me with the esoteric and magical instruments of the composer who has been one of my main inspirations in a project that will help me to explore the hybridity of many musical and cultural traditions.”

Concert venues: Kimmel Center, Roulette.

  • $30,400 to support Color Theory (MAP 2015)
  • $4,684 to general operating support for PRISM Quartet

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PRISM Quartet’s Blog

Partch Ensemble’s Facebook page

Ken Ueno’s Twitter

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