Widely regarded as the world's preeminent microtonal music ensemble, 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 an innovative and eclectic repertoire influenced by jazz, rock and world music. In 1990, NEWBAND received custodianship of the original Harry Partch Instrument Collection. The typical NEWBAND concert involves a stage filled with some of the world's most amazing musical instruments performed upon by an ensemble of virtuosos who move from instrument to instrument with incredible ease.
NEWBAND consists of a core of virtuosic multi-instrumentalists, equally at home in concert performances and in productions involving theater, dance and film. Newband productions have included: Harry Partch's Delusion of the Fury (Directed by John Jesurun, with choreography by Dawn Akemi Saito), Oedipus (directed by Bob McGrath with Ridge Theater), The Wayward (directed by Tom O'Horgan); Daphne of the Dunes (choreographed by Alice Farley); Henry Cowell's Trickster Coyote with the Erick Hawkins Dance Company; and a live soundtrack by Dean Drummond for F.W. Murnau's landmark silent film, Der Letzte Mann (The Last Laugh).
NEWBAND has performed throughout North America and Europe including at New Music America in Houston, The Library of Congress and the Kennedy Center in Washington, Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Walker Arts Center in Minneapolis, World Music Days in Oslo, Festival de Lille in France, USARTS Festival in Berlin and The Icebreaker in Amsterdam. In its New York home base, NEWBAND has performed at the New York Philharmonic Horizons New Virtuosity Series at Avery Fisher Hall, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, Bang on a Can Festival, La Mama Experimental Theater, Merkin Concert Hall and Columbia University. NEWBAND has premiered works by Harry Partch, Dean Drummond, John Cage, John Zorn, Ezra Sims, James Pugliese, Elizabeth Brown, Anne Le Baron, Lois V Vierk and Julia Wolfe and recorded on Mode, Music and Arts, Point and Aurora Records.
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 (by martin hemmingsen at testsforge). Other instruments in the Newband Instrumentarium are the zoomoozophone
and juststrokerods, both invented by Dean Drummond,
a 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.