World Premieres: New Music from Philadelphia (Philly)

Julia Wolfe

Credited with more than 300 commissions since its founding, the intrepid PRISM Quartet (Matthew Levy, Timothy McAllister, Zachary Shemon, Taimur Sullivan) presents a program of new and recent works by composers with deep ties to the City of Brotherly Love. The program features world premieres by four extraordinarily talented composition students, each representing one of four eminent music institutions in Philadelphia: Atomic Tangerine and Indigo; Green by Elise Arancio (Curtis Institute of Music), Spliced Tapes by Brendan McMullen (University of Pennsylvania), Four Short Songs by Gloria Quinn (University of the Arts), and Transgression (Act of Sin) by Sepehr Pirasteh (Temple University Boyer College of Music and Dance). All four works were commissioned and are presented in Philadelphia as the inaugural concert of the Philadelphia Student Composers Project under the direction of Erin Busch on December 6th.

The program also features past Quartet commissions from master composers with longstanding ties to Philadelphia, including Cha by Philadelphia native and Pulitzer Prize-winner Julia Wolfe from the Quartet’s 2019 album, Animal, Vegetable, MineralCha is dedicated to the memory of the composer’s father. Wolfe writes: “My favorite memory is dancing the cha-cha-cha with my father. He would hit the dance floor and take me along with him. The piece takes the cha cha as a starting point and creates a joyful deconstruction/exaggeration of the style for the sax quartet.”

Pew Fellow David Serkin Ludwig — who recently left his long-time position on the composition faculty of Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music to assume the role of Dean and Director of the Music Division of the Juilliard School — contributes Josquin Microludes from the Quartet’s 2016 album, The Curtis Project. Ludwig describes Microludes as “a set of miniatures that incorporates Josquin’s Mille Regretz into its musical language, as if channel surfing between ancient music and contemporary sounds.”

The program also includes the jazz-inflected I Never Knew and Straight Up by PRISM’s frequent collaborator James Primosch (1956-2021) from the group’s 2011 album, Dedication, to honor his memory and rich musical legacy. Primosch, a Guggenheim and Pew Fellow,  served on the composition faculty of the University of Pennsylvania for more than 30 years.

The program, which is followed by a composer talkback moderated by Ludwig, is presented on December 6 at 7:30 PM at the University of Pennsylvania’s Fisher-Bennett Hall, Rose Concert Hall located at 3340 Walnut Street. The concert is free and open to the public. Seating is limited and is offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

Josquin Microludes (2012) by David Serkin Ludwig
I. Milles regetz de vous abandonner…
II. et d’eslonger vostre fache amoureuse
III. jay si grand dueil et paine doloureuse…
IV. quon me verra brief mes jours definer…
V. …brief mes jours definer…

Spliced Tapes (2021, world premiere) by Brendan McMullen

Atomic Tangerine and Indigo; Green (2021, world premiere) by Elise Arancio

Straight Up (2004) and I Never Knew (2007) by James Primosch


TRANSGRESSION (Act of Sin) (2021, world premiere) by Sepehr Pirasteh

Four Short Songs for Saxophone Quartet (2021, world premiere) by Gloria Quinn
I. Glide
II. Drag
III. Bounce
IV. Scrape

Cha (2015) by Julia Wolfe

All works composed for the PRISM Quartet

The concert is open only to fully vaccinated masked individuals.  University of Pennsylvania students, faculty, and staff must show Penn Card and Green Open Pass for entry. The general public must show proof of vaccination and Green Open Pass for entry, available to complete on-site or in advance at

The concert is presented by the Philadelphia Student Composers Project with generous grant from the Sachs Program for Arts Innovation, and additional funding from PRISM Quartet, Inc., the Curtis Institute of Music, and the University of Pennsylvania Music Dept.

University of Pennsylvania, Rose Recital Hall
3340 Walnut Street (4th Floor), Philadelphia, PA 19104

December 06, 2021
7:30 PM

Free! Limited seating, first-come, first-served