Intriguing programs of great beauty and breadth have distinguished the PRISM Quartet as one of America’s foremost chamber ensembles.
PRISM seeks to place the saxophone in unexpected contexts, chart fresh musical territory, and to challenge, inspire, and move audiences. “A bold ensemble that set the standard for contemporary-classical saxophone quartets” (The New York Times), PRISM was founded by students of the renowned Donald Sinta at the University of Michigan in 1984. Shortly after winning the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, PRISM was chosen by Musical America as “Outstanding Young Artists,” performed on Entertainment Tonight and National Public Radio’s Performance Today, and toured virtually every state in the U.S.
Two-time winners of the Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, PRISM has performed in Carnegie Hall on the Making Music Series, in Alice Tully Hall with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and throughout Latin America and China under the auspices of the United States Information Agency and USArtists International, respectively. PRISM has also been presented to critical acclaim as soloists with the Detroit Symphony and Cleveland Orchestra, and conducted residencies at the nation’s leading conservatories, including the Curtis Institute of Music and the Oberlin Conservatory.
Champions of new music, PRISM has commissioned over 200 works, many by internationally celebrated composers, including Pulitzer Prize-winners Julia Wolfe, William Bolcom, Jennifer Higdon, Zhou Long, and Bernard Rands; MacArthur “Genius” Award recipients Bright Sheng and Miguel Zenón; Guggenheim Fellows William Albright, Martin Bresnick, Chen Yi, Lee Hyla, and Steven Mackey; and jazz masters Greg Osby, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Steve Lehman, and Dave Liebman. In 1997, PRISM initiated its own concert series in Philadelphia and New York City, presenting the newest compositions created for the ensemble by composers from around the world. The series has featured an eclectic range of guest artists, including Ethel, Talujon Percussion, Music From China, Miro Dance Theatre, Cantori New York, and top jazz artists, including guitarist Ben Monder, saxophonist Rick Margitza, and drummers Gerald Cleaver, Mark Ferber, and John Riley. PRISM has also joined forces with the New York Consort of Viols, Opera Colorado, and the Chilean rock band Inti-Illimani in touring engagements.
PRISM’s discography is extensive, documenting more than sixty works commissioned by the Quartet on Albany, innova, Koch, Naxos, New Dynamic, and New Focus. PRISM’s recent CD, People’s Emergency Center, features guest artists Jason Moran, Tim Ries, Bill Stewart, and Jay Anderson performing music by Quartet member Matthew Levy. PRISM may also be heard on the soundtrack of the film Two Plus One, by Emmy nominee Eugene Martin, also scored by Levy, and has been featured in the theme music to the weekly PBS news magazine “NOW.”
PRISM performs exclusively on Selmer saxophones and mouthpieces.