Washington Square Contemporary Music Society and PRISM Quartet, Inc. present Heritage/Evolution Marathon: Celebrating the Saxophone. Heritage/Evolution is a groundbreaking project launched by the PRISM Quartet in 2014 featuring premieres of new works composed and performed by today's most inventive jazz saxophonists. H/E Marathon features the PRISM Quartet with Dave Liebman, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Tim Ries, and Miguel Zenón performing music by all four guest artists, with additional works by past collaborators Chris Potter and Steve Lehman, as well as John Coltrane and PRISM's own Matthew Levy. The program also includes the premiere of a new work by composer and ethnomusicologist J. Martin Daughtry.
Since the saxophone's invention by the Belgian instrument maker Adolphe Sax in 1840, it has captured the imaginations of artists and audiences worldwide. The Heritage/Evolution project charts fresh musical territory, drawing on the saxophone's cross-cultural heritage to blend jazz with everything from Western and South Indian classical music to Romani and Latin American folkloric music. Join us for an unprecedented saxophone summit as PRISM, a "bold ensemble that set the standard for contemporary-classical saxophone quartets" (The New York Times) partners with four master jazz artists who defy convention.
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PRISM Quartet: "Arguably the preeminent saxophone ensemble of its kind currently active in the United States" (newmusicbox), the PRISM Quartet 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 nearly 300 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." PRISM is a member New Music USA's NYC New Music Impact Fund cohort and plays Selmer saxophones and mouthpieces exclusively.
David Liebman's career has spanned over four decades, beginning in the 1970s as the saxophonist/flautist of both the Elvin Jones and Miles Davis groups, and continuing as a leader of his own ensembles, including Quest and Saxophone Summit. Downbeat's 2011 soprano saxophonist of the year, he is an NEA Master of Jazz whose discography of nearly 350 records "defines unpredictability, incorporating his fascination with the worlds of jazz, rock, ethnic and contemporary classical music" (Washington Post).
Rudresh Mahanthappa is one of today's most innovative jazz artists, fusing jazz and the culture of his Indian ancestry to break new musical ground. Downbeat's alto saxophonist of the year for six of the last seven years, he was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award. He leads several groups, including Samdhi and the Indo-Pak Coalition, has collaborated with Bunky Green, Jack DeJohnette, and Kadri Gopalnath Danilo Pérez, and Arturo O'Farrill, and serves as Director of Jazz at Princeton University.
Miguel Zenón: Multiple Grammy nominee and Guggenheim and MacArthur Fellow Miguel Zenón is widely considered one of the most influential saxophonists of his generation. He studied classical saxophone in his native Puerto Rico before developing a unique voice as a composer/conceptualist whose work blends Latin American folkloric music and jazz. A founding member of the acclaimed SF JAZZ Collective, he has released six recordings as a leader including the Grammy nominated Alma Adentro (2011).
Tim Ries: Hailed by The New York Times as "a singular talent, a player's player," Tim Ries is a versatile and thoughtful saxophonist and composer whose collaborators have included Phil Woods, Tom Harrell, Al Foster, John Patitucci, Danilo Perez, Red Garland, Badal Roy, Maria Schneider, Chris Potter, Donald Byrd, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, and Sheryl Crow. A former member of PRISM (1993-2001), he has released eight recordings as a leader, and currently tours with Jack DeJohnette and the Rolling Stones.
Washington Square Contemporary Music Society
Now in its 40th season, the Washington Square Contemporary Music Society seeks to further the cause of new music by presenting the most recent works of our time in ideal performances. The Society selects composers based on originality and expertise, and then works closely with them in preparing their music for public presentation. The Society also presents acknowledged masterworks of the 20th or 21st century, and occasionally older works of special interest. Our concerts have taken place at such acoustically superb venues as Merkin Concert Hall of the Elaine Kaufman Cultural Center, Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, and in Greenwich Village at the Tenri Cultural Institute.
This program is presented with funding 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; and Conn-Selmer, Inc. Name Day, X Marks the Square, Trajectory, 15 Places at the Same Time, and I WILL NOT APOLOGIZE FOR MY TONE TONIGHT were commissioned by the PRISM Quartet with support from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. Improvisations was commissioned by the PRISM Quartet with support from New Music USA.