HomeWorld NewsPRISMS festival features world premiere compositions, international artists, composers

PRISMS festival features world premiere compositions, international artists, composers


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November 16, 2022

The annual PRISMS 2022 experimental music festival features new compositions and rarely performed music, along with 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, Arizona State University faculty and student composers, and distinguished international guest artists and composers.

The Arizona Contemporary Music Ensemble and three graduate student composers.
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“The PRISMS festival has always provided opportunities for students to perform, but this year we also sent out an internal call for proposals to our composition students for commissions,” said Gabriel Bolaños, assistant professor at the School of Music, Dance and Theater of ASU and co-coordinator of the festival.

The festival’s opening concert features two of the graduate student commission’s premieres along with works by composers Laura Toxvaerd and Karlheinz Stockhausen, as well as Olivier Messiaen’s 20th-century classic “Oiseaux Exotiques,” featuring piano soloist Gabriele Baldocci.

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

“The commissions provided students with the opportunity to create new compositions and work with an ensemble and conductor to have the work performed at the festival,” said Simone Mancuso, associate professor in the School of Music, Dance and Theater and co- festival coordinator

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

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

Student compositions range from a graphic notation work to a texture work including speech and a work for amplified saxophone quartet.

The second concerto features a new commission by Haitian-born composer Hendel Almétus, assistant professor of practice at the University of the Pacific. Almétus’ piece “Luminous” is written for a saxophone quartet and is based on a collection of paintings by visual artist Alan Klinger. Considered something of an underground artist, Klinger is someone whose paintings are not easily visible to the public. Almétus and Klinger will give a pre-concert talk to discuss Klinger’s new art-inspired work. The Almétus saxophone quartet is paired with graduate student Orea Domínguez’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 Domínguez, composer Amy Dunker, and ASU faculty composers Jody Rockmaker, associate professor, and Alex Temple, assistant professor; and the world premiere of a piece by Gabriel Bolaños. Guest artists include Robert Spring and the Crossing 32nd Street Ensemble.

The third and fourth concerts present five world premieres of electronic music composed for performances in the Ambisonic Dome of the School of Arts, Media and Engineering. 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. The guest composer commissions are made possible by a research and development grant from the Herberger Institute that Bolaños received, with additional support from the School of Arts, Media and Engineering and the School of Music, Dance and Theater. Due to limited audience space in the dome, the concert program will be repeated on December 2 and 3.

Bolaños said that most of the invited artists and composers will personally attend the festival’s concerts.

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
free pass

The concert program features three world premieres by ASU composition graduate students Myles Kellerman and Sofia Matus Cancino, along with works by Laura Toxvaerd and Karlheinz Stockhausen and Olivier Messiaen’s 20th-century classic “Oiseaux Exotiques,” featuring solo piano. Gabriele Baldocci.

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

19:30 Monday, November 21
ASU Faculty and Guest Compositions
7pm pre-concert chat with composer Hendel Almétus and visual artist Alan Klinger
Katzin concert hall
free pass

The concert program features works by guest composer Hendel Almétus, graduate composer José Eduardo Orea Domínguez and Amy Dunker, along with ASU faculty composers Jody Rockmaker and Alex Temple and a world premiere by Gabriel Bolaños. Featured artists are Robert Spring and the Crossing 32nd Street Ensemble.

José Eduardo Orea Domínguez: 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 Bolaños: “Strobe” (7′) (world premiere with the support of the Arizona Commission on the Arts). For percussion quartet.
Crossing the 32nd street complex.

6 and 9 p.m. Friday, December 2
2 and 5 p.m. Saturday, December 3
concerts in DOME
Art, Media and Engineering Ambisonic Dome, Stauffer Communication Arts B

The concert program features five new world-premier works, including three commissions by renowned composers Elainie Lillios, Tito Rivas, and Sarah Belle Reid and two new compositions by ASU faculty Garth Paine and Gabriel Bolaños. Capacity is limited, so the same program will be presented on both days.

Elainie Lillios: “Fields of Ice.”
Sarah Belle Reid: “Sublimate.”
Tito Rivas: “The ear and the snail”.
Garth Paine: “Float.”
Gabriel Bolaños: “Plink”.


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