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PRISM Quartet
Breath Beneath

PRISM Quartet rehearses "Cha" with music by Julia Wolfe, and computer-interactive film by Bill Morrison.
Dear friend,

We're happy to share some final videos and press previews in advance of our Breath Beneath "Discovery" program, tonight in Philly at URBN Annex, and tomorrow in NYC at 3-Legged Dog.

If you're nearby,  join us on an artistic adventure with lots of mind-bending music and computer-interactive film.

Click here for complete concert info.

We hope to see you there!

Matt, Zach, Taimur and Tim
PRISM Quartet
"This piece is a party piece." Julia Wolfe discusses "Cha."
Eli Stine discusses "Hymn," a work for which he create video to music by Kati Agócs.

Breath Beneath Previews

The New Yorker
Even by the ambitious standard this engaging saxophone quartet has established, “Breath Beneath” is a bold venture: a program integrating new music with video art and interactive technology. Along with a première by the composer Dan Trueman and the filmmaker Mark DiChiazza, the concert features multimedia works incorporating music by Julia Wolfe (with the filmmaker Bill Morrison), Kati Agócs, and Jacob ter Veldhuis.

The Philadelphia Inquirer, David Patrick Stearns
Edgy sax quartet going even further out there for Fringe Fest show
The idea is not necessarily to bridge the impossible gap between audio and visual, which are as separate as earth and sky. “We’re looking at how they can rub up against each other and feel more urgent,” said  Trueman. “They’re supposed to be co-existing and prodding each other in different ways.”

Interactive technology has been around in various shapes and forms (including lighting designs at stadium concerts), and this “Breath Beneath” concert is intended to be a cross section, with five pieces showing different states of interactive audio-visual evolution, many of them embracing chance elements.

“We’re hoping to discover something we hadn’t planned,” said filmmaker Bill Morrison, who is employing 1920s film footage of dance (ragtime, Charleston, etc.) in varying states of black-and-white decay, for Julia Wolfe’s 2015 composition Cha. The music itself is about the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer’s Latin-dance upbringing in Montgomery County — so the video isn’t illustrating the piece but going for a synergistic incongruity.

Other pieces include Hymn by Kati Agocs and two works by composer/videographer Jacob ter Veldhuis (aka Jacob TV). His Heartbeakers includes clips from The Jerry Springer Show with tales of broken relationships. Body of Your Dreams deconstructs an infomercial about some sort of waist-slimming device.

Though the team admits to extreme weariness of staring at computer screens, PRISM’s audio-visual endeavors are part of a long-term artistic conversation that Levy hopes will evolve into a new, full-evening piece that will make this week’s concert look like what it is:  a pilot for something far bigger.

“Tech is getting smaller, easier, and fast,” says Trueman. But if there’s a godfather in this concert, it’s not some audio-visual guru, but the late John Cage (1912-1992), who was once thought to represent the lunatic fringe of classical music but whose concepts of embracing chance elements in performance are increasingly mainstream.

“And that’s a good ghost to have in the room,” said Morrison.

Read the full article here.


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 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.

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

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