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Dean Drummond Collection

Identifier: spec01

Scope and Contents

Dean Drummond attended CalArts from November 1, 1971 to June, 1 1973. He received his MFA in Music on June 1, 1973. This collection contains most of his major compositions.


  • 1967-2011

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the CalArts Library Special Collections Manager to make an appointment to view materials:

Biographical / Historical

Dean Drummond (1949-2013)

Dean Drummond attended CalArts from November 1, 1971 to June, 1 1973. He received his MFA in Music on June 1, 1973. While at CalArts “he studied trumpet with Don Ellis and John Clyman and composition with Leonard Stein, an associate of Arnold Schoenberg.”

“During his student years, Mr. Drummond joined [Harry] Partch's ensemble and played in the premieres of several of Partch's idiosyncratic works, including 'Daphne of the Dunes'’ and 'Delusion of the Fury.'’ He also performed on recordings that Partch made for Columbia Records in the late 1960s.

“In 1976 Mr. Drummond moved to New York, where he and his wife at the time, the flutist Stefani Starin, gathered a group of like-minded devotees of microtonality and founded Newband. Most of Mr. Drummond's music was written for the ensemble, which recorded several of his works--including '’Columbus,'’ for flute and zoomoozophone (1980); ‘Then or Never,' for flute, viola, bass and three zoomoozophone players (1984); and the theatrical 'Congressional Record' (1999), which skewered government opponents of arts support, for baritone, synthesizers and instruments made by both Partch and Mr. Drummond.”

“Mr. Drummond's music was often gently atmospheric, sometimes with subtle touches of humor, and almost always steeped in an otherworldly sense of color, which arose from his peculiar approach to instrumentation.

“Like Harry Partch, the iconoclastic composer and instrument builder with whom Mr. Drummond worked as an assistant for several years in the 1960s, Mr. Drummond had a passion for building his own outlandish instruments.

“One was the zoomoozophone, which has 129 aluminum tubes and is played with either mallets or a cello bow by one or more percussionists. Another is the juststrokerods, a smaller gadget built of 13 solid aluminum rods that a player strokes to produce ringing tones.”

Kozinn, Allan. "Dean Drummond, 64, Musician and Instrument Maker." New York Times, 27 Apr. 2013, p. A14(L). Biography In Context, Accessed 6 Feb. 2019.


27 Linear Feet (2 archival boxes; 16 flat file boxes)

Language of Materials


Dean Drummond Collection
Susan Lowenberg
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the CalArts Special Collections Repository

CalArts Library
24700 McBean Parkway
Valencia CA 91355 US