UW Music brings a viola fest, Harry Partch instruments
University of Washington School of Music brings violist-composer Atar Arad to Meany Theater, Monday, Nov. 5, 2012, followed by Newband, custodians of the Harry Partch Instrument Collection, on Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012.
"UW Music," the University of Washington School of Music's concert season, is in full swing and is offering two unusual events this week.
First up is a joint concert by violist Melia Watras with her mentor, Israeli-American composer-violist Atar Arad. Arad's pieces — some for solo viola, some for two violas — have a Middle Eastern melancholy and flair to them, along with something otherworldly.
Arad joins pianist Kimberly Russ for Schubert's "Arpeggione" Sonata in A minor, while Watras and Russ team up for Rebecca Clarke's Sonata for Viola and Piano which, with its sprightly middle movement and darkly dignified finale, should appeal to Ravel fans (7:30 p.m. Monday).
Those with a taste for the experimental won't want to miss Newband on Wednesday. Since 1990, the ensemble has had custodianship of the Harry Partch Instrument Collection. Their concert includes works by Partch, as well as pieces by Dean Drummond and Mathew Rosenblum.
Partch, like fellow West Coaster Lou Harrison, built his own instruments, adapting string instruments, using found objects, and constructing odd glass, percussive and zitherlike contraptions. Each was built to accommodate Partch's 43-note scale, which takes its microtonal cues from the pitch variations of the human voice. The names of Partch's instruments alone — chromelodeon, crychord, zoozoomophone — spark curiosity (7:30 p.m. Wednesday).
Both events are at Meany Theater, University of Washington, Seattle; $12-$20 (206-543-4880 or www.music.washington.edu).
Seattle Times arts writer