PRISM Quartet

Ensemble

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 recipients 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, China, and Russia under the auspices of the United States Information Agency and USArtists International. 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 250 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, now in Philadelphia, New York City, and Ann Arbor, presenting the newest compositions created for the ensemble by composers from around the world.

PRISM’s discography is extensive, with releases on Albany, ECM, innova, Koch International, Naxos, New Dynamic, New Focus, and its own newly launched label, XAS Records (distributed by Naxos). PRISM may also be heard on the soundtrack of the filmTwo Plus One, by Emmy nominee Eugene Martin, scored by Quartet  member Matthew Levy, and has been featured in the theme music to the weekly PBS news magazine “NOW.”

PRISM’s concert series and recordings feature a who’s who of contemporary music makers, including BMOP, Ethel, Sō Percussion, Talujon, Partch, Music From China, Opera Colorado, Cantori New York, Nick Didkovsky, Marilyn Nonken, and top jazz artists, including Jason Moran, Chris Potter, Ravi Coltrane, Tim Ries, Jay Anderson, Ben Monder, Bill Stewart, Gerald Cleaver, and John Riley. PRISM has also performed with The Crossing (choir), the New York Consort of Viols, the Chilean rock band Inti-Illimani, as well as Miro Dance Theatre, Nai Ni Chen Dance Company, and the Pennsylvania Ballet.

In 2016, the PRISM Quartet was named by its alma mater, the University of Michigan, as the first recipient of the Christopher Kendall Award in recognition of its work in “collaboration, entrepreneurship, and community engagement.”

The PRISM Quartet performs exclusively on Selmer saxophones and mouthpieces.

SHORT BIO

Intriguing programs of great beauty and breadth have distinguished the PRISM Quartet as one of America’s foremost chamber ensembles. “A bold ensemble that set the standard for contemporary-classical saxophone quartets” (The New York Times), 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, China, and Russia under the auspices of the United States Information Agency and USArtists International. 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. Two-time recipients of the Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, PRISM has commissioned over 250 works, many by internationally celebrated composers, including Pulitzer Prize-winners Julia Wolfe, William Bolcom, Jennifer Higdon, Zhou Long, and Bernard Rands, and MacArthur “Genius” Award recipients Bright Sheng and Miguel Zenón. PRISM’s discography includes releases on Albany, ECM, innova, Koch, Naxos, New Dynamic, New Focus, and its own newly launched label, XAS Records. In 2016, PRISM was named by its alma mater, the University of Michigan, as the first recipient of the Christopher Kendall Award in recognition of its work in “collaboration, entrepreneurship, and community engagement.”

NAME USAGE: Please refer to the ensemble by its official trademarked name, PRISM Quartet, not PRISM Saxophone Quartet. If you wish to identify instrumentation, we suggest doing so parenthetically, i.e., PRISM Quartet (saxophones).

Timothy McAllister

Hailed as “a master of his instrument” (Audiophile Audition) known for “evocative and bravura playing” (The Classical Review), Timothy McAllister is Associate Professor of Saxophone at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre and Dance, following the legacies of Larry Teal and Donald Sinta. He was a concerto soloist on John Adams’ “City Noir” (Nonesuch) with Maestro David Robertson and the St. Louis Symphony, winner of the 2015 Grammy Award for best orchestral performance. The disc featured him on both the title track, and Adams’ Saxophone Concerto, which he has performed to critical acclaim with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, Sao Paulo State Symphony, BBC Proms with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, New World Symphony and the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra. He holds degrees and honors from the University of Michigan, including the Doctor of Musical Arts and the Albert A. Stanley Medal. McAllister’s work can be heard on the Deutsche Grammophone, Naxos, OMM, Stradivarius, Centaur, AUR, Albany, New Dynamic, Equilibrium, New Focus and innova record labels.

Taimur Sullivan

Taimur Sullivan enjoys a prolific career as a soloist, chamber musician, and educator. His performances have taken him from the stages of Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center to engagements in Russia, Germany, and throughout Latin America. The New York Times praised him as “outstanding…his melodies phrased as if this were an old and cherished classic, his virtuosity supreme.” The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel wrote that Taimur is “talented, fearless and sensitive…the sounds he made were fully and deliciously drawn.” He appears on over twenty-five recordings for the New World, Mode, Albany, innova, Capstone, Mastersound, Bonk and Zuma labels, and has most recently recorded James Aikman’s Concerto for Alto Saxophone with Russia’s St. Petersburg Symphony. In honor of his distinguished record of promoting and presenting new works for the saxophone, including over 150 premieres, Meet The Composer named him one of eight “Soloist Champions” in the U.S. Mr. Sullivan is Associate Professor of Saxophone at Northwestern University Bienen School of Music.

Matthew Levy

Matthew Levy has been hailed by The Saxophone Journal as “a complete virtuoso of the tenor saxophone” and by The New York Times for his “energetic and enlivening” performances. He is the recipient of a 2016 Pew Fellowship in the Arts, as well as composition fellowships from the Independence Foundation and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. He has scored four motion pictures, including PBS’s Diary of a City Priest, featured at the Sundance Film Festival. His music is highlighted on four PRISM recordings, including People’s Emergency Center (Best Jazz of 2014, PopMatters). He has also recorded for Deutsche Grammophon, Tzadik, and Grammavision; collaborated with a host of choreographers/dance companies, among them Peter Sparling and Scrap; and appeared as a guest artist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Dolce Suono, NNM Ensemble, and counter)induction. He teaches saxophone at Temple University and the University of Pennsylvania; serves as a Community Artist Program mentor at the Curtis Institute, and as a consultant for the Corzo Center at the University of the Arts. Levy holds three degrees from the University of Michigan, where he was a recipient of the Lawrence Teal Award.

Zachary Shemon

Zach Shemon is Assistant Professor of Saxophone at the University of Missouri – Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance. Additionally, he serves on the music faculties at the Interlochen Arts Camp and Interlochen Saxophone Summer Institute. He holds degrees from the University of Michigan (BM, BSE, MM) and Indiana University (Performer Diploma). He also studied at the Université Européenne de Saxophone in Gap, France and the Aspen Music Festival and School, where he held the saxophone fellowship. His primary teachers are Donald Sinta and Otis Murphy. As a soloist, Shemon was awarded 1st prize at the inaugural International Saxophone Symposium and Competition in Columbus, GA and was the winner of the Indiana University Concerto Competition. He has appeared as a concerto soloist with the Indiana University Philharmonic and Michigan Philharmonic orchestras, as well as with the University of Michigan Concert and Symphony Bands. Shemon is a D’Addario performing artist, performing on Reserve Classic reeds and aiding in product research and design.