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August 15, 2017
More Information:
Kris Parsons / PARSONS PR
(267) 909-0038

“a bold ensemble that set the standard for contemporary-classical saxophone quartets” 
— The New York Times

PRISM Quartet

announces a groundbreaking new project



Piloting the intersection of music, interactive technology, and durational visual art with new works by Mark DeChiazza/Dan Trueman and Bill Morrison/Julia Wolfe/Ryan Holsopple

Thursday, September 14 @ 7:00 PM
(Panel discussion @ 8 PM)
Drexel University
URBN Center Annex, Black Box Theater 
3401 Filbert Street, Philadelphia, PA
Tickets: $15,
(215) 413-1318

Friday, September 15 @ 8:00 PM
3-Legged Dog
80 Greenwich Street, New York City
Tickets: $25,
(800) 838-3006

Hailed by Chamber Music magazine for “pioneering achievements of the highest order,” the PRISM Quartet partners with Drexel University's Westphal College of Media Arts & Design in Philadelphia and 3-Legged Dog in New York City to co-present Breath Beneath, a pilot project that explores the intersection of music, interactive technology, and durational visual art. The Philadelphia program is presented under the umbrella of the Fringe Festival.

Breath Beneath is the first phase—and first public presentation—of a multi-year “Discovery” initiative, supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. Reaching across disciplines, the PRISM Quartet (saxophones) joins forces with two intrepid creative teams to investigate how saxophonists’ movements and sounds can be used to generate images—and how those images shape musical interpretation. 

Cha by filmmaker Bill Morrison, composer Julia Wolfe, and programmer Ryan Holsopple (world premiere)
Video artist Bill Morrison uses infrared cameras and air sensors to visualize breath passing through saxophones by having PRISM “blow” MIDI-triggered video images onto a scrim hung in front of the quartet. Images are generated by the Quartet performing Julia Wolfe's "Cha." The piece was inspired by Wolfe’s childhood memories of dancing with her late father. Wolfe describes it as “a play on Latin dance tune fragments, bass lines and vocal trills made messy with cross rhythms and bursts of song.” Wolfe originally envisioned “Cha” (commissioned and premiered by PRISM in 2015) as a collaboration with Morrison; Breath Beneath is PRISM’s first opportunity to present “Cha” as she imagined it.
Listen to the PRISM Quartet play CHA by Julia Wolfe on Soundcloud

Waveguide Model I by filmmaker Mark DeChiazza and composer Dan Trueman (world premiere)

Dan Trueman—composer, fiddler, electronic musician, and co-founder of the Princeton Laptop Orchestra—composes and programs an interactive musical work titled "Waveguide Model I." Trueman collaborates with filmmaker Mark DeChiazza to generate (in DeChiazza’s words) “a responsive system of projected imagery that functions in a manner analogous to breath.” DeChiazza explains: “I want to explore a territory outside commonly practiced modes of interactivity between sound and visual media that map music’s pitch or volume to determine the density, speed, and/or rhythm of visual events. To look for an apparent cause and effect logic that is not: louder or higher equals more or bigger.”

Trueman notes that “performance technologies are most compelling when there is an element of feedback between performers and technology, each influencing the other, making the technologies crucial to how the music is performed and experienced by the players, giving them real and meaningful agency.” Trueman envisions "Waveguide Model I" as a piece in which “sound and video work at cross-purposes, moving ideas about breath and time beyond body and machine.” PRISM performs Trueman’s commission within “a real-time interactive system that could expressively shape and animate a breathing visual world,” created jointly by Trueman and DeChiazza.

Additional Works
The program includes "Hymn" by Kati Agócs (New England Conservatory) with film by Eli Stine and first-time PRISM Quartet performances of "The Body of Your Dreams" and "Heartbreakers" by Dutch "avant-pop" composer/videographer Jacob TVThese works test the limits of traditional (non-interactive) video projection, illuminating the evolution of media technology.

"Hymn" by Kati Agócs with film by Eli Stine.
"Heartbreakers" by Jacob TV

“Cha” by filmmaker Bill Morrison, composer Julia Wolfe, and programmer Ryan Holsopple (world premiere)
“Waveguide Model I” by filmmaker Mark DeChiazza and composer Dan Trueman (world premiere)
“Hymn” by filmmaker Eli Stine and composer Kati Agócs
“Heartbreakers” by filmmaker Jan Boiten and composer Jacob TV
“The Body of Your Dreams” by composer/videographer Jacob TV

Panel Discussion / Q & A
The Philadelphia program is followed by a panel discussion moderated by Victoria Brooks, curator of time-based visual arts at the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (Troy, NY).

Kati Agocs
Victoria Brooks

PRISM Quartet

Intriguing programs of great beauty and breadth have distinguished the PRISM Quartet as one of America’s foremost chamber ensembles. Two-time winners of the Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, PRISM has been presented by Carnegie Hall, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and as soloists with the Detroit Symphony and Cleveland Orchestra. Champions of new music, PRISM has commissioned over 250 works, many by internationally celebrated Pulitzer Prize-winning composers. PRISM’s discography includes 19 recordings for the Albany, ECM, Innova, Koch, Naxos, New Dynamic, New Focus, and XAS labels. PRISM may also be heard on the soundtrack of the film Two Plus One and has been featured in the theme music to the weekly PBS news magazine “NOW.”

PRISM in the Press

"This virtuosic ensemble is a saxophone quartet, but prepare to hear sounds that transcend the traditional palette of that instrument." 
— The New York Times

"PRISM’s intonation is of the highest order, and the combination of their precision and warm, round tone meant that the chords they made together were astonishingly beautiful." 
New York Classical Review

“PRISM provided an enticing program of recent music ...
carefully constructed ... particularly accessible and satisfying ...
remarkable examples of virtuosity”
— Los Angeles Times

“Four skilled performers with buoyant musical personalities.
The performers moved effortlessly between styles.” 
— The Philadelphia Inquirer

“This unusual group is determined to make the saxophone quartet a legitimate concert-hall fixture. And it may very well do just that.”
— New York Magazine


Drexel University 
Westphal College of Media Arts & Design

The Westphal College of Media Arts & Design is a community of learning in the areas of media, design, fine arts, performing arts, and the management of creative enterprise that values experiential and immersive education. Students are encouraged to give form to ideas by learning to recognize invention and innovation in a rapidly changing world through creative, critical, and collaborative approaches. The Westphal College’s diverse programs seek to foster innovation and leadership in progressively interconnected disciplines and areas of study.

3-Legged Dog
3-Legged Dog exists to produce new, original works in theater, performance, dance, media and hybrid forms. Our mission is to explore narrative possibilities created by digital technology; to foster artists’ self expression and skill through training initiatives; and to provide an open environment free of censorship for artists to create new works, tools and modes of expression so that they can excel across a range of disciplines.


The Philadelphia performance of Breath Beneath is co-presented by PRISM Quartet, Inc. and Drexel University's Westphal College of Media Arts & Design as part of the 2017 Fringe Festival.

The New York performance of Breath Beneath is co-presented by PRISM Quartet, Inc. and 3-Legged Dog.

Support for the research and development of Breath Beneath has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. Additional support comes from New Music USA (to follow Breath Beneath as it unfolds, visit the New Music USA project page and PRISM's blog), the Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Conn-Selmer, Inc. The New York program received additional support from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

PRISM Quartet, Inc. also receives support from the Presser Foundation, the Philadelphia Cultural Fund, the Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia, the William Penn Foundation, the Samuel S. Fels Fund, the Amphion Foundation, New Music USA’s Cary New Music Performance Fund, the Aaron Copland Fund for Music, and New Music USA’s NYC New Music Impact Fund, made possible with funding from The Scherman Foundation's Katharine S. and Axel G. Rosin Fund.

For further information, press tickets, and to arrange interviews with filmmakers, composers, or members of PRISM, please contact Kris Parsons of PARSONS PR at (267) 909-0038 or

High resolution photos of the PRISM Quartet are available at

Copyright © 2017 PRISM Quartet, Inc., All rights reserved.

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