October 1, 2015
On October 13, at 7:30 p.m. in the Gertrude C. Ford Center at the University of Mississippi, the Memphis-based PRIZM Ensemble will appear for a very special program, “Return of the King.”
The program features a variety of works that “cross over” between the worlds of classical and popular music. The title comes from a bassoon concerto by Michael Daugherty, “Dead Elvis,” where the bassoon soloist is required to dress as an Elvis impersonator.
University of Memphis faculty bassoonist Lecolion Washington will be playing the role of “the King” in a performance that is not to be missed. Other works on the program include a twelve-person ensemble for the Double Sextet by Steve Reich, a work whose driving rhythms and dense chords also refer to the world of rock-and-roll.
The mission of the PRIZM Ensemble is “to build a diverse community through chamber music education, youth development and performance.”
One of the larger goals of this program is to bring musicians together, and the performers onstage will include faculty from the University of Mississippi Department of Music, University of Memphis and members of the Memphis Symphony.
“It’s a real thrill to work with folks I don’t usually get to play with,” said organizer Michael Rowlett, an associate professor of music who teaches clarinet at the University of Mississippi. “We aren’t all that far away from each other, but sometimes it’s still like we are in our own little worlds. This program gives us a chance to break down some of those boundaries and make some great music together.”
Most exciting of all, students from Memphis and Oxford, will perform alongside the professionals for a performance of Terry Riley’s “In C.” In this piece, Riley specifies the music that the performers are to play, but each performer gets to decide when to begin and end the different sections of the piece. Mentoring student performers is an important part of PRIZM’s mission, and this program will allow students to experiment with the different demands of a contemporary piece of chamber music.
“Much time is spent teaching students about the composers that are the cornerstones of our classical musical history such as Mozart and Brahms, but learning about contemporary music is equally important. It is often very freeing to play this kind of music,”said Carina Washington, PRIZM’s Director of Educational and Artistic Programming. “The experience sparks our curiosity and imagination, something all musicians should strive to for in abundance.”
This exciting and colorful program will be presented in Memphis at 7:00pm on October 12 at the Buckman Performing Arts Center, and in Oxford at 7:30pm on October 13 at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts.