The Los Angeles-based ensemble Partch has specailized in the music and the unique instruments designed by composer Harry Partch. Strongly acclaimed critically, the group has been nominated for Grammy awards three times and won once.
Partch was formed as Just Strings in 1991, with the intention of performing not only the music of Harry Partch but also that of his fellow composer Lou Harrison. They have also commissioned new works by John Luther Adams, Larry Polansky, Mari Takano, and other composers. In 1995, the group toured Japan as part of the Interlink Festival sponsored by the U.S. Embassy. They continued to build musical instruments modeled on those built by Harry Partch, which, among diverse unique features, embody a scale dividing the octave into 43 unequal tones. Some resemble traditional instruments of the Western orchestras, while others, such as the Chromelodeon and the Quadrangularis Reversum, are sui generis. By 2005, Just Strings had accumulated a set of 12 Harry Partch instruments and started performing under the name Partch. They began to find bookings around California, often at art museums and beyond, including an appearance on the American Mavericks program of Minnesota Public Radio. Since 2004, the group has been featured yearly at Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles. Another recurring appearance has been the MicroFest festival in Los Angeles, featuring music with microtonal scales. Partch made an additional international appearance, at the Guadalajara Book Fair in 2010, and the group was featured at the American Mavericks festival mounted by the San Francisco Symphony in 2012.
Partch has made several recordings, entirely of music by Harry Partch, on the Bridge label. Their Music of Harry Partch, Volume 1: Bitter Music (2011) earned a Grammy nomination, as did their 2014 performance of the theater-dance work Castor & Pollux. Partch's 2014 release Plectra & Percussion Dances won the Grammy award for Best Classical Compendium. Partch released a new recording of the rarely heard Sonata Dementia in 2019.