The PRISMS festival presents world premiere compositions, international artists, composers

November 16, 2022

The annual PRISMS 2022 experimental music festival features new compositions and rarely performed music, as well as pre-concert talks, panel discussions and film screenings.

Highlights of this year’s four-day contemporary music festival include 10 world premieres from guest artists, faculty and student composers from Arizona State University, as well as prominent international guest artists and composers.

The Arizona Contemporary Music Ensemble and three graduate student composers.
Download Full Image

“The PRISMS festival has always offered opportunities for students to perform, but this year we also sent out an internal call for proposals to our composition students to receive commissions,” said Gabriel Bolaños, assistant professor at the School. of music, dance and theater of the ASU and co-coordinator of the festival.

The festival’s opening concert features two of the premieres of graduate student commissions alongside works by composers Laura Toxvaerd and Karlheinz Stockhausen, as well as Olivier Messiaen’s 20th-century classic ‘Oiseaux Exotiques’, which features piano soloist Gabriele Baldocci.

Three graduate student composers have been selected to write new pieces for the festival: Myles Kellerman, Sofía Matus Cancino and José Eduardo Orea Dominguez.

“The commissions gave the students the opportunity to create new compositions and work with an ensemble and a conductor to have the work performed at the festival,” said Simone Mancuso, associate professor at the School of music, dance and theater and co-coordinator of the festival.

The students had only 30 days to compose their pieces. Due to the short timeframe to compose and assemble the piece, Mancuso said, some of the works have a more open structure and are more improvisational.

“The goal is to have students explore new things,” Mancuso said.

Student compositions range from graphic notation work to textural work that includes speech and work for amplified saxophone quartet.

The second concert features a new commission from Haitian-born composer Hendel Almétus, assistant professor of practice at the University of the Pacific. Almetus’ piece, “Luminous”, is written for a saxophone quartet and based on a collection of paintings by visual artist Alan Klinger. Considered somewhat of an underground artist, Klinger is someone whose paintings are not readily visible to the public. Almétus and Klinger will give a pre-concert talk to discuss the new work inspired by Klinger’s art. Almétus’s saxophone quartet is paired with graduate student composer Orea Dominguez’s new saxophone quartet, which explores the amplification and resonance of the saxophone quartet.

The concert also features works by ASU composition graduate student José Eduardo Orea Dominguez, composer Amy Dunker, and ASU faculty composers Jody Rockmaker, associate professor, and Alex Temple, assistant professor; and a world premiere of a play by Gabriel Bolaños. Guest artists include Robert Spring and Crossing 32nd Street Ensemble.

The third and fourth concerts feature five world premieres of electronic music composed for performances at the School of Arts, Media and Engineering’s Ambisonic Dome. Three commissioned works are by renowned composers Elainie Lillios, Tito Rivas, and Sarah Belle Reid, and two works are by ASU faculty composers Garth Paine and Bolaños. Visiting composer commissions are made possible by a Herberger Institute research and development grant that Bolaños received, with additional support from the School of Arts, Media and Engineering and the School of music, dance and theatre. Due to limited space for the public in the dome, the concert program will be repeated on December 2 and 3.

Bolaños said most of the guest artists and composers will attend the festival concerts in person.

PRISMS was founded in 2009 by Mancuso and Glenn Hackbarth.


2:30 p.m. Sunday, November 20
Arizona Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME) and guests
Katzin Concert Hall

The concert program includes three world premieres by ASU composition graduate students Myles Kellerman and Sofía Matus Cancino, as well as works by Laura Toxvaerd and Karlheinz Stockhausen and the 20th-century classic “Oiseaux Exotiques” by Olivier Messiaen, with piano soloist Gabriele Baldocci.

Sofia Matus Cancino: “Wake Windows” (10′) (world premiere). For ensemble, electronics.
Laura Toxvaerd: “Cackle cabin” (10′). For five instruments and live electronics.
Myles Kellerman: “It’s a Zang, Zang, Zang, Tumb World” (10′) (world premiere). For together.
Karlheinz Stockhausen: “Komet” (15′). For electronics.
Olivier Messiaen: “Exotic Birds” (16′) with piano soloist Gabriele Baldocci. For piano and small orchestra.
Arizona Contemporary Music Ensemble.

7:30 p.m. Monday, 21 November
ASU Faculty and Guest Compositions
7 p.m. pre-concert talk with composer Hendel Almétus and visual artist Alan Klinger
Katzin Concert Hall

The concert program includes works by guest composer Hendel Almétus, graduate composer José Eduardo Orea Dominguez and Amy Dunker, alongside ASU faculty composers Jody Rockmaker and Alex Temple and a world premiere by Gabriel Bolaños. Featured performers are Robert Spring and Crossing 32nd Street Ensemble.

Jose Eduardo Orea Dominguez: student composition work #3 (10′) (world premiere). ASU Saxophone Quartet.
Rockmaker: “Odd Combinations” (10′). Two keyboards.
Alex Temple: “Blurred line” (7′).
Hendel Almétus: “Luminous” (10′) (world premiere, commissioned by the PRISMS festival). ASU Saxophone Quartet, with Christopher Creviston.
Amy Dunker: “Storm Warning” (7′). Robert Spring, clarinet.
Gabriel Bolanos: “Strobe” (7′) (world premiere with the support of the Arizona Commission on the Arts). For percussion quartet.
Crossing 32nd Street Together.

6 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Friday, December 2
2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday, December 3
Concerts at the DOME
Arts, Media & Engineering Ambisonic Dome, Stauffer Communication Arts B

The concert program includes five new world premiere works, including three commissions by renowned composers Elainie Lillios, Tito Rivas and Sarah Belle Reid and two new compositions by ASU professors Garth Paine and Gabriel Bolaños. As places are limited, the same program will be presented on both days.

Elainie Lillios: “Ice Fields”.
Sarah Belle Reid: “Sublimate.
Tito Rivas: “La oreja y el caracol” (The ear and the snail).
Garth Paine: “Floating.”
Gabriel Bolanos: “Plink”.


Comments are closed.