Hidden Sounds Musical Program

Old Economy Village
Harmony Society Music is Focus of Hidden Sounds Program

 Ambridge, Pa. – See and hear the musical legacy left by the Harmony Society at the Hidden Sounds Musical Program on Saturday, July 16, 2 to 4 p.m. at the Granary at Old Economy Village, 1401 Church St., Ambridge, PA 15003.  The event, jointly sponsored by the Harmony Museum, Harmony, PA and Old Economy Village, will include Harmonist music, recently released by Grammy-Award-winning cellist Eugene Friesen, along with a behind-the-scenes look of some of the musical heritage of the Harmony Society.  The event is free, but reservations are requested via e-mail to Friends of Old Economy, c-jaweber@pa.gov. Light refreshments will be served.

“Old Economy is lucky to have the musical archives of the Harmony Society,” says Sarah Buffington, Curator at Old Economy Village. “For this event visitors can view items from those archives, as well as some of the mid-19th century musical instruments played at Harmony Society concerts.”

The Hidden Sounds Musical Program will also showcase Harmony Society music recorded by cellist Eugene Friesen in the wine cellar built by the Harmonists in 1809, located in Harmony, PA. “Friesen performed a concert in the Harmony Museum wine cellar several years ago,” says Harmony Museum board member Andrew Orient, “and was so inspired by the unique acoustics of space he returned to Harmony to record a compact disk of Harmonist music. At the Hidden Sounds Musical Program we are celebrating the release of this recorded music in digital form.”

Friesen is performing in concert the same weekend in New Harmony, Indiana, the second home of the Harmony Society.  Efforts are underway to bring the Grammy-Award winning cellist to western Pennsylvania for live performances of this Harmonist music in Harmony and Old Economy in the future.  

The Hidden Sounds Musical Program is one of several cooperative efforts between the three “homes” of the Harmony Society. “We are glad to work with the Harmony Museum for the return of our behind-the-scenes programming at Old Economy Village,” says Jason Weber, Executive Director of Friends of Old Economy. “Many people know of the Harmony Society because of the religion, industry, and agriculture. But they also were very musical, and it is wonderful that we can continue to bring that musical legacy to life.” Guests to the event will see instruments from the museum collection, view music written by members of the society, and have a chance to play a square grand piano in the historic Feast Hall building

The Harmony Society became one of 19th century America’s most successful communal groups in various businesses, especially in production of woolens and linens. They founded the borough of Harmony in Butler County in 1804, and after ten years of progress, they relocated to Indiana Territory to found the town of New Harmony.  The Harmony Society returned to Pa. in 1824 to establish their final home, Economy, (now Ambridge, Pa.) along the Ohio River.  The society started practicing celibacy while in Harmony, and as members aged and died, the Society was dissolved in 1905.

In Harmony CD Case

In Harmony: Harmonist Music for Our Time
The much anticipated CD is now available for purchase, in the Harmony Museum Shop,
by calling (724) 452-5509 or by using the Paypal Button below.

Cost is $15 plus $5 shipping. 

You can order more than 1, just click the “Buy Now” button
and change the amount ordered. 
Total shipping is still $5 now matter how many ordered.

Eugene Friesen

Eugene Friesen

You might recall that in September 2019 Grammy-award-winning cellist Eugene Friesen came to Harmony for a series of concerts and student workshops. Not only were students and audiences impressed with Mr. Friesen’s artistry, but Mr. Friesen was impressed by our performing spaces, especially the Wine Cellar and the Meetinghouse. So impressed, in fact, that Friesen returned to Harmony in August 2021 to record Harmonist Music and created a CD: In Harmony – Harmonist Music for Our Time.

 With this CD we will preserve and promote the Harmonist musical tradition, re-imagine Harmonist music for 21-century ears, and create a finished product that will bring this music to a much broader audience.

Four-time Grammy Award-winner Eugene Friesen is active internationally as a cellist, composer, conductor and teacher. His unique original repertoire and improvisational style has been featured in concerts internationally with the Paul Winter Consort, and with Trio Globo (Howard Levy, Glen Velez and Friesen). Eugene has been featured on Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion,” has recorded artists as diverse as Dream Theater, Will Ackerman, and Dar Williams, and is a pioneer in the teaching of improvisation to classically-trained musicians. His book, Improvisation for Classically Trained Musicians (Hal Leonard/Berklee Press) was published in 2012. He is an artist-in-residence at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, and Professor of Music at the Berklee College of Music in Boston where he founded and directs the genre-busting string orchestra, Berklee World Strings. More information on Eugene can be found online at: www.eugenefriesenmusic.com

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