Prism Saxophone Quartet
|Intriguing programs of great beauty and breadth have distinguished the PRISM Quartet as one of America’s foremost chamber ensembles, presenting the saxophone as a serious concert instrument while embracing its rich history in jazz and popular music. Founded in 1984, the ensemble has twice been awarded the Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music and has been chosen by Musical America as “Outstanding Young Artists.” PRISM’s creative work has been supported by the nation’s leading cultural philanthropies, including the National Endowment for the Arts, Meet the Composer, Chamber Music America, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Pew Charitable Trusts.
Champions of new music, PRISM has premiered over 100 works, many by internationally celebrated American composers, including William Albright, Chen Yi, Lee Hyla, Libby Larson, Greg Osby, and Jennifer Higdon. The Quartet also maintains four annual Young Composer Commissioning Awards for young composers in Greater Philadelphia, New York City, the State of Michigan, and at the Walden School for Young Composers in Dublin, New Hampshire, where PRISM conducts regular residencies.
PRISM’s engagements encompass both recitals and concerto appearances. In 2000, the Quartet commissioned Pulitzer Prize winning composer William Bolcom for “Concerto Grosso,” premiered with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and performed subsequently by PRISM with twenty orchestras nationwide, including the Cleveland and Dallas Symphony Orchestras. Most recently, PRISM commissioned Princeton University professor Steven Mackey for “Animal, Vegetable, Mineral,” conceived as both a stand-alone quartet and a concerto grosso. PRISM performed the world premiere of AVM in the group’s debut appearance with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra in October 2005. PRISM has also performed with the Nassau Symphony premiering “Serenata Gioconda” by Chicago composer Larry Rapchak, with the Macon Symphony in Samuel Adler’s “Concerto for Saxophone Quartet,” and as guest artists with the Pennsylvania Ballet Orchestra in a work by Morton Gould. Recent seasons have also included appearances in Alice Tully Hall with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, on “Entertainment Tonight,” with the famed Chilean rock group Inti-Illimani, and an extensive tour of Latin America under the auspices of the U.S. State Department.
In 1997, PRISM initiated its own concert series in both New York City and Philadelphia, presenting the newest compositions created for their ensemble by both classical and jazz composers from around the world. The series has featured an eclectic range of guest artists, including Ethel, the Talujon Percussion Quartet, pianist Marilyn Nonken, saxophonists Donald Sinta and Rick Margitza, guitarist Ben Monder, and drummer John Riley.
The PRISM Quartet sustains an active recording schedule. PRISM’s most recent disc, “Real Standard Time” features modern jazz by Tim Ries and Quartet member Matt Levy. In 2006, the Quartet will release “Saxophone Music of William Albright” on Innova. PRISM made its recording debut on the Koch International label , may be heard on the soundtrack of the film “Two Plus One,” by Emmy nominee Eugene Martin, scored by Levy, and is featured in the theme music to the weekly PBS news magazine “NOW.”
The PRISM Quartet performs exclusively on Selmer saxophones.