Dean Drummond has been engaged, since the 1970's, in a multi-dimensional career as composer, instrument inventor, conductor and musician in hundreds of performances and numerous recordings with Newband, Director of the Harry Partch Instrumentarium, and educator. Drummonds music features microtonality, electronics, new acoustic instruments, new techniques on existing instruments, and world percussion. His music has been recorded on Innova, Mode, and Music and Arts, and performed throughout the world including at: The Library of Congress in Washington, DC; Barbican Hall in London; Podewil in Berlin; and Avery Fisher Hall, Alice Tully Hall and Carnegie Hall in New York. He has received numerous awards and commissions including a Guggenheim Fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, Library of Congress, Chamber Music America, and The Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard University. Recent compositions include: Mars Face (1997) for violin and microtonally programmed synthesizer, Congressional Record (1999) for low voice and eight instrumentalists (electronic wind controller, adapted guitar, harmonic canons, chromelodeon, diamond marimba, bamboo marimba, zoomoozophone and juststrokerods), and Phil Harmonic (2002) for orchestra.
Born in Los Angeles in 1949, Drummond attended University of Southern California and California Institute of the Arts. While a student, he studied trumpet with Don Ellis and John Clyman, composition with Leonard Stein, and worked as musician for and assistant to Harry Partch. Drummond performed in the premieres of Partchs Daphne of the Dunes, And on the Seventh Day Petals Fell in Petaluma, and Delusion of the Fury, as well as on both Partch Columbia Masterworks recordings made during the late 60's. In 1976, Drummond moved to New York, where he co-founded Newband with flutist Stefani Starin in 1977, invented the 31-tone zoomoozophone in 1978 and became Director of the Harry Partch Instrumentarium in 1990.
As Co-director of Newband, Drummond has produced and music-directed: Harry Partchs The Wayward staged by Tom OHorgan at the Bang on a Can Festival; Partchs Daphne of the Dunes choreographed by Alice Farley at La Mama Experimental Theater; Partchs Oedipus staged by Bob McGrath at the Alexander Kasser Theater at Montclair State University; Delusion of the Fury directed by John Jesurun and choreographed by Dawn Saito; and his own The Last Laugh, a live film score for the silent film by F.W. Murnau, at Wexner Center for the Arts, The Kitchen and The Library of Congress. He has produced and performed on recordings of music by Harry Partch and John Cage and premiered new works by Cage, John Zorn, Muhal Richard Abrams, Lasse Thoresen, Mathew Rosenblum, Elizabeth Brown and numerous others. As a Director of the New York Consortium for New Music, he helped produce the annual Sonic Boom Festival in New York City for more than a decade.
Since 1990, Drummond has served as Director/Curator of the Harry Partch Instrumentarium, supervising the replication, renovation and improvement of Partchs creations. As an instrumentalist, Drummond has performed upon many of the Partch instruments (especially kithara, surrogate kithara, harmonic canons, adapted guitar) and his own zoomoozophone throughout the U.S. and Europe. Drummond has conducted hundreds of workshops for middle school, high school and college music students, and professional composers. He is currently Associate Professor and Director of the Harry Partch Institute at Montclair State University, New Jersey.
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Drummonds career has received
increasing accolades from colleagues and press. Avant
Magazine (UK) has written Were not
talking musical novelty here; were talking major landmarks in musical history. Forget the
labels such as iconoclasts and outsiders; Harry Partch,
Dean Drummond and Newband are as much a part of 20th
century music as Copland, Stockhausen and Takemitsu and
must be respected as such. The Village Voice has written No
music happening in America today is more culturally crucial than what Dean Drummonds Newband ensemble
is doing to recreate, restore and preserve Harry Partchs
theater works. The Washington Post wrote Drummonds
music is richly emotional and deeply expressive...also music that finds
considerable power in what would be cracks on a piano keyboard...Drummond may
be opening a world to people who had thought they would never like that kind of