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March 12, 2014
More Information:
Aleba Gartner, 212/206-1450
To receive a review copy of People's Emergency Center
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please email
“This unusual group is determined to make the saxophone quartet
a legitimate concert-hall fixture. And it may very well do just that.”

— New York Magazine
In tandem with the recently announced Heritage/Evolution,

PRISM Quartet

announces the release of their new 2-disc recording


Music for Saxophones by Matthew Levy


Levy draws freely—and often surprisingly—from classical, jazz, world, and rock

Street Date: May 27, 2014 on Innova Recordings

The album features seven distinctive jazz voices as guest artists:
TIM RIES, soprano saxophone
BEN MONDER, guitar
FRANÇOIS ZAYAS, percussion
“As a guiding force behind the omnivorous PRISM Quartet, Matthew Levy has been a musical midwife: helping to birth a large and eclectic repertoire of works built around the endlessly versatile sound of the saxophone quartet. But while championing so many of his colleagues, from the internationally renowned to the young and emergent, Levy has done a great disservice to a contemporary American composer with a distinctive voice: namely, Matthew Levy.” â€” John Schaefer (Read the complete liner notes)
Among the country’s most celebrated chamber ensembles, the PRISM Quartet (Timothy McAllisterTaimur SullivanMatthew Levy, and Zachary Shemon) releases their new CD PEOPLE'S EMERGENCY CENTER on May 27, 2014 on Innova Recordings.

Having commissioned over 150 works of new music from composers around the world, PRISM now turns to  the eclectic and inventive compositions of their founder and resident composer MATTHEW LEVY

Expanding on the saxophone quartet format, the two-disc People’s Emergency Center features a number of today’s leading jazz artists including Rudresh MahanthappaJason MoranBen MonderJay AndersonBill StewartFrançois Zayas, and former PRISM member Tim Ries. Levy builds his pieces around each improviser’s distinctive voice. â€œThe intent is for both improvisation and accompaniment to evolve simultaneously on organic, parallel paths,” says Levy. Three compositions are written for the unaccompanied PRISM Quartet as well.

Much of PRISM’s work has been to place the saxophone in unexpected settings—from collaborations with traditional Chinese instruments and early music ensembles, to pioneering work with electronic wind instruments. Levy’s compositions bridge the saxophone’s dual heritages in classical music and jazz by integrating compositional techniques and saxophone performance practices from both areas of music, while also drawing from rock and world music. 

The People’s Emergency Center disc comes out during PRISM’s ambitious Heritage/Evolution concert series in New York and Philadelphia (April through June 2014), which similarly melds jazz and classical worlds. Featuring commissioned works from six premier saxophonists/composers—Steve Lehman, Dave Liebman, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Greg Osby, Tim Ries, and Miguel Zenón—the series includes performances, workshops, and discussions, culminating in a recording on Innova in October 2014. Read the Heritage/Evolution press release here.

2014 marks PRISM Quartet's 30th anniversary, and the group is busier than ever, charting fresh musical terrain with groundbreaking concerts and recordings.


SAMPLE TRACK featuring Rudresh Mahanthappa, who, along with Steve Lehman, will join PRISM on April 11 (World Cafe Live, PHL) and 12 (Symphony Space, NYC) for the inaugural program of their new Heritage/Evolution series.

Matthew Levy

Saxophonist, composer, curator, producer/engineer, arts consultant, and educator Matthew Levy has made an enduring contribution to contemporary music as co-founder and director of the PRISM Quartet, and as a collaborator with other artists and ensembles for the past 25 years. Praised by the Saxophone Journal as “a complete virtuoso of the tenor saxophone” and by Classical Magazine for “gorgeous and ethereal” compositions, his creative work has been supported by fellowships from the Independence Foundation and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Aaron Copland Fund, the American Composers Forum (Philadelphia Chapter), the Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia, and the Presser Foundation. 

As a solo artist, Matt has commissioned and premiered works by many composers, including Paola Prestini, Renee Favand, and David Ludwig; collaborated with a host of choreographers and dance companies, among them Peter Sparling, Scrap Performance Group, and Group Motion Dance Theater; and appeared as a guest artist with numerous orchestras and ensembles, including the Detroit Symphony, counter)induction, and Dolce Suono. He has worked with concert pianists Matt Herskowitz, Charles Ambramovic, and Robert Conway, and jazz artists Franck Amsallem, Ben Monder, Matt Wilson, Gerald Cleaver, and John Riley. 

Matt’s compositional output has included works for orchestra, choir, musical theater, dance, jazz, and electronic music ensembles. He has scored four motion pictures, including PBS’s Diary of a City Priest (starring David Morse), featured at the Sundance Film Festival. Matt has composed extensively for the PRISM Quartet; his music has been featured on PRISM’s self-titled debut CD (1993, Koch International), as well as Real Standard Time (2000, innova) and Dedication (2011, innova), and broadcast by NPR, CBC, and Voice of America.

PRISM Quartet

Intriguing programs of great beauty and breadth have distinguished the PRISM Quartet as one of America’s foremost chamber ensembles. Two-time winners of the Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, PRISM has been presented by Carnegie Hall, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and as soloists with the Detroit Symphony and Cleveland Orchestra. Champions of new music, PRISM has commissioned over 150 works, many by internationally celebrated Pulitzer Prize-winning composers. PRISM’s discography includes eleven recordings for the Albany, Innova, Koch, Naxos, New Dynamic, and New Focus labels. PRISM may also be heard on the soundtrack of the film “Two Plus One” and has been featured in the theme music to the weekly PBS news magazine “NOW.” PRISM performs exclusively on Selmer saxophones and mouthpieces. 
“a bold ensemble that set the standard for contemporary-classical saxophone quartets"
— The New York Times

“remarkable examples of virtuosity”
— Los Angeles Times

“Four skilled performers with buoyant musical personalities.
The performers moved effortlessly between styles.” 
— The Philadelphia Inquirer

Guest Artists

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 the PRISM Quartet (1993–2001), he has released eight recordings as a leader, and currently tours with the Rolling Stones and Jack DeJohnette.

Rudresh Mahanthappa

Rudresh Mahanthappa is one of today’s most innovative composers and performers, fusing jazz and the culture of his Indian ancestry to break new musical ground. DownBeat’s alto saxophonist of the year for the past three years, he was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and the coveted Doris Duke Performing Artist Award. He leads several groups, including Samdhi and the Indo-Pak Coalition, and has collaborated with Bunky Green, Jack DeJohnette, and Kadri Gopalnath.


Jason Moran

Rolling Stone writes that pianist Jason Moran is “shaping up to be the most provocative thinker in current jazz.” His collaborators have included Wayne Shorter, Dave Holland, Joe Lovano, Greg Osby, Andrew Hill, Bunky Green, Sam Rivers, Lee Konitz, Paul Motian, and Chris Potter. The Blue Note Records artist has been the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, Playboy Jazz Artist of the Year award, The New York Times’ best album of the year, several awards from the Jazz Journalists Association, and top honors from The DownBeat Critics Poll.

Ben Monder

Ben Monder, a guitarist of “demigod stature” (The New York Times), has performed with Jack McDuff, Marc Johnson, Lee Konitz, George Garzone, Tim Berne, and Kenny Wheeler. He is a regular member of the Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra and the Paul Motian Octet. He performs original music internationally with his own quartet, trio, and in a duo project with vocalist Theo Bleckmann. He has appeared on over 100 CDs as a sideman, and has released five as a leader.


Jay Anderson

Bassist/composer Jay Anderson is among the most versatile and respected jazz artists performing today. He has performed/recorded with Woody Herman, Michael Brecker, John Abercrombie, Dave Liebman, Maria Schneider, and John Scofield. His collaborators outside of jazz have included Oswaldo Golijov, Dawn Upshaw, Frank Zappa, Tom Waits, Chaka Khan, and Allen Ginsberg. He has been featured on over 300 recordings, four of which have received the Grammy Award. He teaches at the Manhattan School of Music and co-leads the group BANN.

Bill Stewart

One of modern jazz’s preeminent drummers, Bill Stewart began to make a name for himself on the New York scene in the later half of the 1980s. He first recorded with Scott Kreitzer and Maceo Parker before spending five years as a sideman with John Scofield. He has worked with Larry Goldings, Michael Brecker, James Brown, Ron McClure, Kevin Hays, Pat Metheny, George Garzone, Tim Hagans, Joe Lovano and Andy LaVergne. He has released three albums as a bandleader, one of which was among The New York Times “Top Ten” albums of the year.

François Zayas

Born in Cuba, percussionist and composer François Zayas graduated from the Instituto Superior de Artes in 1998, where he later taught for five years. He was a member of the National Symphonic Orchestra of Cuba for 10 years while also collaborating with top jazz, hip hop, and rock artists. He moved to the USA in 2006, and currently resides in Philadelphia, where he leads his own quintet and performs frequently with singer Venissa Santí.

Richard Belcastro

Richard Belcastro is a composer, sitarist, and musical activist in the Philadelphia area. His work seeks to utilize his instrument in non-traditional musical contexts, encourage the creation of new compositions for sitar, and refine musical notation for the instrument.
For further information, review copies, photos, and to arrange interviews,
please contact Aleba & Co. at 212/206-1450 or

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