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April 5, 2022
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Matt Browne, 215/438-5282

PRISM Quartet


World Premiere of Old Tune Renewed by Bright Sheng
World Premiere of Breath by Jungyoon Wie
Midwest premiere of Mending Time by Martin Bresnick
Midwest premiere of Unsung Lullaby by Juri Seo

Monday, October 25 @ 7 PM
First Presbyterian Church of Ypsilanti
300 N. Washington St, Ypsilanti, MI


Tickets: $25 general admission, $20 students & seniors (fees included)
available at
The Singing Gobi Desert by Bright Sheng, commissioned by PRISM in 2011 and released with guest ensemble Music From China in 2014.
On April 25th, the PRISM Quartet (Timothy McAllister, Zachary Shemon, Matthew Levy, Taimur Sullivan) presents an intriguing concert of new music at the First Presbyterian Church of Ypsilanti. The program features the world premieres of Old Tune Renewed by MacArthur Fellow and University of Michigan Professor of Composition Bright Sheng, and Breath by San Francisco-based Korean composer Jungyoon Wie, winner of the 2020 ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Awards who recently completed her doctoral studies at the University of Michigan where her mentors included Mr. Sheng.

In describing his piece, Mr. Sheng writes, “Chinese traditional music had a fascinating practice of transforming old, mostly well-known compositions into new works. This procedure, called Old Tune Renewed, often goes far beyond the normal concept of interpretation. Here the recreator would become the creator and would often compose a new work based on the older version. The fresh execution would become a new tradition which would be passed on by performers in the next generations. This is an indispensable practice in Chinese music, as it not only prolongs the lifespan of the established compositions, but also it makes sure that the older works are up to date to the sensibility of its performers and audience. I centered Old Tune Renewed on a folk song from Northwestern China. The work attempts to spotlight the style and zest of the folk singing, often takes place in open valleys, while putting a contemporary spin on the music.”

Jungyoon Wie composed Breath  in 2020 as the winner of the inaugural PRISM Quartet/Donald Sinta Commissioning Award, named after PRISM's mentor and friend, Donald Sinta, a seminal classical saxophonist and pedagogue who served as the Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and Earl V. Moore Professor of Saxophone at the University of Michigan from 1974 - 2014. Mr. Sinta was succeeded at the University by his protégé and PRISM's soprano chair, Dr. Timothy McAllister.

Ms. Wei describes her piece: “Often, I imagine my music coming from nature – mountain, trees, birds, and the ocean. If there was a mother to this piece Breath, it would be the land, water, and their life-giving vibrations. Each gesture symbolizes a breath and the entire piece is made up of a series of breaths, those by humans, animals, insects, birds, the land, and water alike. Each gesture starts from silence and builds in dynamics, eventually returning to the stillness again. As no breath is the same, each gesture has its own sound, timbre, and meaning that is different from the others. Each breath brings another life, and so the piece keeps going.”

PRISM Quartet performs “Pensoso, con sobrio espressione” from Martin Bresnick’s Every Thing Must Go, commissioned by PRISM in 2007.

The program also features Midwest premieres of Martin Bresnick’s Mending Time and Juri Seo’s Unsung Lullaby from PRISM’s Mending Wall project, a fully staged concert exploring the meaning of walls in our world by giving musical form to questions about identity, community, division, and freedom. Bresnick and Seo’s works take inspiration from poetry by Robert Frost and Waly Salomão, respectively. Mr. Bresnick and Ms. Seo serve as professors of composition on the faculties of Yale University and Princeton University, respectively.

The concert takes place on April 25th at 7:00 pm at the First Presbyterian Church of Ypsilanti (300 N. Washington St., Ypsilanti, MI). Tickets are $25 for general admission, $20 for students/seniors (fees included), and are available at Tickets are available at the door only on the day of the concert.

This concert is open only to fully vaccinated and masked individuals. Anyone wishing to enter the building must show a proof of vaccination – such as a photocopy of a Covid-19 vaccination card – to box office staff at the door. Musicians and staff members have been vaccinated.
Composers, clockwise from top left: Bright Sheng, Juri Seo, Martin Bresnick, Jungyoon Wie

About the Performers

photo by Ara Howrani

PRISM Quartet

The PRISM Quartet 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 has been presented by Carnegie Hall and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center; appeared as soloists with the Detroit Symphony and Cleveland Orchestra, and conducted residencies at the nation’s leading conservatories, including the Curtis Institute and the Oberlin Conservatory. PRISM has commissioned hundreds of works, from talented students to recipients of the Pulitzer Prize and MacArthur Fellowship. PRISM’s discography is extensive, with releases on Albany, BMOP/Sound, ECM, innova, Koch International, Naxos, and its own label, XAS Records. 

"An eminent classical saxophone quartet with
an unquenchable thirst for intrigue and adventure."
— Time Out New York



This program is presented with generous support from the Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs, the Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University, Conn-Selmer, and Meridian Winds.


For further information, press tickets, photos, and to arrange interviews,
please contact Matt Browne at

Copyright © 2022 PRISM Quartet, Inc., All rights reserved.

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