Prism plays Straight Up

In 2004 I was one of 23 composers invited to write short pieces for a concert celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Prism Saxophone Quartet. I reached into my files and took the basic musical material from a chart I had written for my undergrad school’s jazz ensemble, enriched the harmony a bit, added some dissonant counterpoint and a little cadenza, and produced Straight Up. The title came from a frequent conversational interjection by a trumpet player I knew back then, roughly equivalent to “no kidding?”, or “are you talking to me straight?” – a  possible reaction to hearing the piece.

Prism has recorded those 23 pieces for Innova, and to celebrate the release of the CD, they will play them in concerts in Philly and NYC. The Philadelphia concert is at the World Cafe this Saturday, May 29 at 7; the New York edition is at The Stone, March 31 at 10.

The list of composers is nicely diverse with respect to style, age, and so forth – here’s the list:

Tim Berne
William Bolcom
Zack Browning
Robert Capanna
Donnacha Dennehy
Dennis DeSantis
Nick Didkovsky
Jason Eckardt
Roshanne Etezady
Reneé Favand-See
Perry Goldstein
Jennifer Higdon
Libby Larsen
Matthew Levy
Keith Moore
Greg Osby
Frank J. Oteri
James Primosch
Tim Ries
Adam Silverman
Ken Ueno
Gregory Wanamaker
Chen Yi

(Hey, I went to a lot of trouble to get all those links, so start clicking.)

Video on Innova here.

Upcoming in Philly

Plenty of new music in the next few days in Philadelphia:

-the Prism Sax Quartet celebrates its 25th anniversary with a concert at the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Friday, January 29. Note the early start time of 5:45. Billed as a CD release party, the program includes music by Steve Mackey, Jacob TV, Roshanne Etezady, Bill Albright, and Lei Liang. New Yorkers have to wait till Sunday night to hear this show at (le) Poisson Rouge. Go here to read a fine piece by David Patrick Stearns about Prism, and here for a clip of Prism playing my Short Stories.

Update: Very nice to see Prism written up in the NY Times Arts & Leisure section.

-the American Composers Orchestra does a run-out of their Friday night Zankel Hall program to the Annenberg Center in Philly on Saturday, January 30. Anne Manson conducts music by Sebastian Currier, Roger Zare, and Paquito D’Rivera.

-the Daedalus Quartet (with guest colleagues) plays Beethoven, Schoenberg (your chance to hear Verklärte Nacht live) and a new piece by Lawrence Dillon on Sunday, January 31, in Amado Recital Hall on the U Penn campus.

There may be other events I am missing, but these three concerts alone add up to something of a new music festival.