PRISM Quartet

Paradigm Lost, CD Release Concert (NYC)

The PRISM Quartet presents a program celebrating the release of Paradigm Lost on its new label, XAS Records, featuring music by Lee Hyla, Chen Yi, Bernard Rands, David Rakowski, Augusta Read Thomas, and John Adams.

The record and concert are dedicated to the memory of Lee Hyla (1952-2014), a dearly missed friend whose beautiful saxophone quartet, Paradigm Lost, forms the title track. The recording features all-world premiere recordings of PRISM commissions by many of the nation’s most prominent composers.

In his liner notes for the album, WNYC’s John Schaefer writes, “If it is possible for a group with over three decades of pioneering work to reintroduce itself, then that’s what Paradigm Lost does for the PRISM Quartet. After a string of important and boundary-busting releases on Innova, ECM, and many other contemporary music labels, this collection firmly establishes PRISM’s own XAS label, and offers a kind of “State of the Union” address for the saxophone quartet. Here are works that demonstrate the various ways of building a repertoire: through commissioned works, transcriptions, arrangements, and multi-media work.”

Paradigm Lost (2005) by Lee Hyla (1952 – 2014)
Fearful Symmetries (excerpt, 1988) by John Adams (b. 1947), Arr. Timothy McAllister
Compass (2010) by David Rakowski (b. 1958)
Prism (Memo 6b) (2008) by Bernard Rands (b. 1934)
Not Alone (2014) by Chen Yi (b. 1953)
Squeeze (2007) by Augusta Read Thomas (b. 1964)

Winner of the Stoeger Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Rome Prize, Lee Hyla (1952-2014) composed Paradigm Lost for PRISM in 2004 with support from Chamber Music America. Hyla wrote, “Paradigm Lost is in one continuous movement and explores the contrast between quiet, delicate, recessive music, and more aggressive takes on what, down deep, is similar material. The attempts to resolve these different takes, or the failure to resolve them, are at the heart of the piece.”

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and Kennedy Center Friedheim Award, Bernard Rands (b. 1934) composed Prism (Memo 6b) for PRISM in 2008. Rands writes, “The work addresses contemporary virtuosity and expressive capacities, and explores a wide range of the saxophone’s associations and characteristics from singing, lyrical, cantilena, melodic lines to energetic, driving, rhythmic, passages.”

Winner of the Rome Prize and two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, David Rakowski (b. 1958) composed Compass in 2010 as part of a consortium commissioning project led by PRISM with nine other saxophone quartets. Rakowski describes the work, “W is about notes passed antiphonally through the group under a torrent of brief jazz licks; N is a jazz scherzo that is about quick handoffs of quick gestures and tight scoring; S is a slow movement that draws long melodies out phrases that begin simply with octave leaps; and E is a take-no-prisoners finale about repeated notes and gestures that explode out of them.”

Winner of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the NEA, Chen Yi composed Not Alone for PRISM and Nai Ni Chen Dance Company in 2014 with support from New Music USA. The work explores the realm of identity, independence and introspection. It is inspired by a famous Tang Dynasty Poem by Li Bai, “Drinking Alone Under the Moon.”

The program also includes two short compositions not commissioned by PRISM: Squeeze, a work composed in 2007 by Guggenheim Fellow and Pulitzer Prize finalist Augusta Read Thomas; and an excerpt of the orchestra work Fearful Symmetries, composed by Pulitzer and Grammy Award winner John Adams in 1988 and adapted for sax quartet by PRISM’s Tim McAllister in 2012 under Adams’ direction.



This program is presented with generous support from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; the Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University; Conn-Selmer; and New Music USA’s Impact Fund. This recording was made possible with generous support from the Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Inc.; the National Endowment for the Arts; and New Music USA, made possible by annual program support and/or endowment gifts from Helen F. Whitaker Fund, and Aaron Copland Fund for Music. PRISM Quartet, Inc. also receives generous support from the Amphion Foundation, New Music USA’s Cary New Music Performance Fund, the Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Inc., and individual donors.

Marc A. Scorca Hall at The National Opera Center
330 7th Avenue, 8th Floor, New York, NY 10001

April 01, 2017
7:30 PM (7:15 arrival strongly recommended for elevator)

$17 - $22 ($3 more at the door)