Premieres (Ypsilanti, MI)
Old Tune Renewed (world premiere) by Bright Sheng
Commissioned for the PRISM Quartet with generous support by the Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard University.
Breath (world premiere) by Jungyoon Wie, winner of The PRISM Quartet/Donald Sinta Commissioning Award
Unsung Lullaby (Midwest premiere) by Juri Seo
Mending Time (Midwest premiere) by Martin Bresnick
Additional music TBA
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.”
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.
COVID-19 PROTOCOLS: Vaccinations and Masks
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 Covid-19 vaccination card or an Excelsior Pass – to staff at the door. Musicians and staff members have been vaccinated.
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.
PRISM Quartet welcomes all individuals to our concerts, and provides a variety of accommodations for those with disabilities in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. For specific accommodations, please contact email@example.com or 215.438.5282.
PRISM selects only wheelchair accessible performance venues with dedicated seating locations for wheelchairs. Ramps and an elevator (access on Emmett St.) are permanent at The First Presbyterian Church. For any guest who requires a paid Personal Care Attendant (PCA), PRISM will provide a PCA Pass at no cost with a paid admission. Any guests with disabilities who require a PCA and wish to purchase advance tickets should contact PRISM at 215.438.5282 of firstname.lastname@example.org to request a PCA Pass with the ticket.
First Presbyterian Church of Ypsilanti
300 N. Washington St., Ypsilanti, MI
April 25, 2022
$25 general admissions, $20 seniors/students with ID (all fees included)