A Composer Carpenter: The Music and Instruments of Harry Partch



Concerts, talks, and films, celebrating the music and instruments of visionary American composer Harry Partch. During his life (1901-1974) he was known for his work in the tuning system of just intonation, and his decision to invent new instruments to perform in this tuning. These large, sculptural inventions are as iconic as the music Partch composed for them.

The NOW Society is pleased to present Charles Corey, Bonnie Whiting, nine instruments from the Harry Partch Instrumentarium, SONIC/Symbiotic and the NOW Society Ensemble in this mini festival of events at 8EAST!


@8EAST     8 EAST Pender Street      May 12 - 15

Reserve Tickets

limited drop in seating will also be available


Adapted Guitar I, Adapted Guitar II, Harmonic Canons, Surrogate Kithara, Diamond Marimba, Bass Marimba, Spoils of War, Cone Gongs, Chromelodeon. Photos Steven Severinghaus


Guests Artists

Charles Corey guitar and voice Bonnie Whiting percussion and voice


Anju Singh, Adrian Avendaño, Ben Brown percussion

Roxanne Nesbitt Ceramic Instruments • design and creation

NOW Society Ensemble

Jorrit Dijkstra saxophone Joshua Zubot violin Sina Ettehad kamanche Lisa Cay Miller piano

Link to Artist bios


Entry by Donation $0/$10/$20/xx

We offer a number of reserved tickets as well as drop-in attendance.

Events on the 8EAST Plaza are weather permitting, otherwise presented indoors.

Reserve Tickets




May 12 8-9pm Informal Talk and meet the instruments

May 12 9pm Film Screenings: Music Studio and Windsong on the 8EAST Plaza

May 13 7pm Talk: A Composer Seduced Into Carpentry: Exploring the World of Harry Partch

May 13 8pm Concert: Improvisations with the Now Society Ensemble

May 14 1pm Concert: Performances with SONIC/Symbiotic on the 8EAST Plaza, co-presented with the Currently Arts Society

May 14 8pm Talk: Exploring Partch's Theoretical Framework and Compositional Philosophy

May 15 1, 2 and 3 pm 30 minute Concerts: Performances of Harry Partch Compositions on the 8EAST Plaza



May 12 8-9pm Meet the Instruments with Charles Corey and Bonnie Whiting

An informal opportunity to meet Charles Corey and Bonnie Whiting following their and the Harry Partch Instrumentarium arrival at 8EAST. It will be possible to view  some of the instruments up close and hear them played a little. Questions are welcome! Light refreshments will be served. This will be a mask optional event with windows and doors will open for increased ventilation.


May 12 9pm Film Screenings on the 8EAST Plaza

Music Studio (1958) 17:54

Partch takes the viewer on a tour of his Chicago home, plays his micronotal instruments and demonstrates how the soundtrack for Windsong was made. This is, without a doubt, one of the best ways to begin the process of getting to know Harry Partch's theory of dividing the octave into just-intoned intervals, and the sounds of the instruments.

Windsong (1958) 17:38

The ancient Greek legend of Daphne and Apollo, transported to Lake Michican by Harry Partch and filmmaker Madeline Tourtelot.

May 13 7pm 

Talk: A Composer Seduced Into Carpentry: Exploring the World of Harry Partch

With Charles Corey

Harry Partch had a unique voice in twentieth-century American music, eschewing the trends followed by his contemporaries to instead return to concepts prevalent in Antiquity. This talk will introduce Partch's theories and philosophies, examine the unique instruments he invented to facilitate performance in his system, and present some of his most important compositions.


May 13 8pm 

Concert: The Now Society Ensemble with Bonnie Whiting and Charles Corey

NOW Society Ensemble: Jorrit Dijkstra • saxophone Joshua Zubot • violin 

Sina Ettehad • kimanche  Lisa Cay Miller • piano 

Bonnie and Charles join with NOW Society musicians, including guest saxophonist Jorrit Dijkstra, in an immersive improvised sonic experience. The musicians and audience will be spaced amongst the Partch instruments inside 8EAST. Musicians may perform from varied places, combining sound and space. There will be with at least two sets of music for small audiences.

May 14 1pm

Concert: Performances with SONIC/Symbiotic on the 8EAST Plaza, co-presented with the Currently Arts Society

With Charles Corey, Bonnie Whiting, Anju Singh, Adrian Avendaño, Ben Brown

Ceramic Instruments created by Roxanne Nesbitt with the Harry Partch Instrumentarium

SONIC/Symbiotic joins in music making with Bonnie Whiting and Charles Corey! SONIC/Symbiotic is a research/performance project where percussionists have been learning to improvise with ceramic instruments designed and created by Roxanne Nesbitt. The percussionists in this performance are Anju Singh, Adrian Avendano and Ben Brown. This concert will feature improvisations, the Harry Partch and Roxanne Nesbitt instrumentaria and an instruction-based score by composer Rio Houle. On the 8EAST Plaza, weather permitting. If not, the performance will be presented indoors at 8EAST.


photo by Roxanne Nesbitt


May 14 8pm

Talk: Exploring Harry Partch's Theoretical Framework and Compositional Philosophy

With Charles Corey

This presentation will look closely at Partch's theories of harmonic and melodic composition, and examine some of the compositional tools he employed to realize his philosophic and aesthetic goals.

May 15 1pm  2pm  3pm

30 minute Concerts: Performances of Harry Partch Compositions

with Bonnie Whiting and Charles Corey • Three 30 minute concerts • Reception at 4pm


from Eleven Intrusions:
     Study on Olympos' Pentatonic (Harmonic Canon, Bass Marimba)
     Study on Archytas' Enharmonic (Harmonic Canon, Bass Marimba)
     The Rose (Voice, Adapted Guitar II, Diamond Marimba)
     The Crane (Voice, Adapted Guitar II, Diamond Marimba)
     The Waterfall (Voice, Adapted Guitar II, Diamond Marimba)
     The Wind (Voice, Harmonic Canon, Bass Marimba)

    The Street (Voice, Harmonic Canon, Bass Marimba)

Two Settings by Lewis Carroll:
     The Mock Turtle Song (Voice, Surrogate Kithara, Spoils of War)
     O Frabjous Day! (Voice, Harmonic Canon, Bass Marimba)

Barstow (Voice, Adapted Guitar I)    

 Photos by Brandon Parigo                                                                            

 COVID Safety guidelines:

Please do not come to this event if:

• You have experienced any signs of being unwell in the last 5 days;

• You have been in contact with anyone suspected of having or who has COVID-19 in the last 5 days.


8EAST ventilation: open windows and doors, three air purifiers, updated HVAC system with UV lights. Mask wearing is recommend inside 8EAST and in the Chinese Cultural Centre washrooms. Masks and Hand Sanitizer will be available. Restrooms will be available to the public.


The 8EAST social space for new culture is a project of the NOW Society, located on the Territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm, Skwxwú7mesh and səlil̓wətaʔɬ Peoples, in Chinatown in Vancouver.



We recognize that access is an ongoing and evolving discussion, and acknowledge that this statement may be insufficient. Please do not hesitate to contact us with suggestions.


8EAST (8 East Pender street)

We are committed to making 8EAST a welcoming and more accessible space. We present events at 8EAST with conditions to keep our communities as safe as possible. We do not tolerate discrimination based on age, gender, neuro a-typicality, disability, place of origin, cultural background, religious beliefs, or sexual orientation. We do not tolerate racism.

The 34 inch wide main entrance to 8EAST has a threshold of approximately 0.5 inches high. There is no door automation. There are no ramps or stairs to navigate. Internal floors are smooth concrete. The surface of outdoor Plaza events consists of concrete pavers and tiles, mostly smooth, some are uneven.


Provided seating, wooden stackable chairs without armrests, is easily movable to create equitable seating location accommodations. Wheelchair seating is easily accommodated. Staff and volunteers will be on hand to assist. Translation and language interpretation is available at some events.

8EAST has a wheelchair accessible, non-gendered toilet on site with a door width of 35 inches. Additional toilets are located in the adjacent hallway. They are not wheelchair accessible. If you are attending an event with food and have specific allergies, please contact now@nowsociety.org. Service animals are welcome.


GETTING THERE AND PARKING: 8EAST is located within 50 meters of buses 004, 007, 019, 022, 209, and N19 on Pender Street. Stops for buses 003, 008, 014, 016, 020, N8, N20, and N35 are located within 250 metres on Hastings Street. Stadium–Chinatown SkyTrain Station is approximately 400 metres away.

General metered street parking is available on surrounding streets. A passenger drop-off zone without a curb is located within 50 metres at 531 Carrall Street. For Accessible Parking locations consult: https://vancouver.ca/streets-transportation/accessible-parking.aspx.


There is a bike rack on the SW corner of Pender and Carrall Street across the street from 8EAST. It is possible to view the bike rack while inside 8EAST and also while on the 8EAST Plaza.

Covered bike parking, with electronic key card access is available at the Main Street - Science World Skytrain Station, open during all hours of Skytrain operations. The station has 90 parking spaces. The cost to use the parkades is $1 per day, with a maximum monthly charge of $8. Please refer to TransLink's Bike Parkade program for more information. From the Main Street - Science World Station, one can take the #3 bus to Pender street, then walk West down Pender to 8EAST (c. 5 mins) or one can ride one skytrain stop to Stadium - Chinatown and walk Northwest to 8EAST (c. 5 mins). Walking to 8EAST from the Science World Skytrain Station would take approximately 15 minutes.


Pender and Carrall Streets