Santa Monica Public Library presents Soundwaves: Partch on Film and on Stage

The Santa Monica Public Library Soundwaves concert series presents a program devoted to the work of Harry Partch on Wednesday May 17, at 7:30 p.m. in the Main Library’s Martin Luther King Jr. Auditorium at 601 Santa Monica Blvd. This presentation is also part of the 20th anniversary season of Microfest (, “the world’s leading concert series devoted to the glorious universe of non-standard tunings.”
Harry Partch (1901-1974) was a composer and music theorist who designed and built instruments to play in his own tuning system, which uses 43 notes to the octave instead of the twelve of almost all other European and American music. His work also incorporated text and movement, approaching a kind of ritual drama. Though he lived on the margins of society, his work has become seen as part of an “American Maverick” group, including Henry Cowell, Charles Ives, Lou Harrison, John Cage, and others, and is increasingly respected, studied, and performed.
John Schneider, the founder of Microfest and leader of the Grammy-winning Partch ensemble, will screen a 1958 documentary film “Music Studio,” showing Partch at work, then perform several solo pieces. Schneider will also demonstrate and discuss some of his recreations of Partch’s instruments. This is a rare opportunity to see and hear these up close.
Soundwaves is a monthly concert series presenting artists who appear on the DRAM (Database of Recorded American Music) streaming service. The Santa Monica Public Library is the first public library to offer this service to its cardholders. Listings of past and upcoming Soundwaves shows as well as sound and video recordings are at
This event is free and open to the public. Seating is limited and on a first-arrival basis. The Santa Monica Public Library is wheelchair accessible. For special disabled services, call Library Administration at (310) 458-8606 at least one week prior to event. For more information, visit or contact the Santa Monica Public Library at (310) 458-8600.
— Submitted by Jeff Schwartz, Reference Librarian