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PRISM: Philadelphia Student Composers Project

December 6, 2021 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

PRISM Quartet

presents the inaugural program of the Philadelphia Student Composers Project featuring music from the City of Brotherly Love
Matt Levy director of and musician with PRISM is a long time Germantown resident.
World Premieres
spotlighting new works by rising star composition students representing four eminent Philadelphia music institutions:

Elise Arancio, Curtis Institute of Music
Brendan McMullen, University of Pennsylvania
Sepehr Pirasteh, Temple University
Gloria Quinn, University of the Arts

plus music written for PRISM by three acclaimed composers with deep ties to Philadelphia

David Serkin Ludwig
James Primosch
Julia Wolfe

Monday, December 6 @ 7:30 PM
The inaugural concert of the
Philadelphia Student Composers Project

University of Pennsylvania, Fisher-Bennett Hall
4th floor, Rose Concert Hall
3340 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104

Tuesday, December 7 @ 7:30 PM
Christ & St. Stephen’s Church
120 W 69th St., New York, NY 10023


free admission, limited seating, first-come, first-served
New York City: $25 general admission, $20 students & seniors (all fees included) at
Enter the code PrismPromo5 for $5 off!

Both concerts are open only to fully vaccinated and masked individuals.
Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania students, faculty, and staff must show Penn Card and Green Open Pass for entry. The general public must show proof of vaccination and Green Open Pass for entry, available to complete on-site or in advance at

New York City: Anyone wishing to enter the building must show a proof of vaccination – such as a Covid-19 vaccination card or an Excelsior Pass – to staff at the door.

Clockwise from top: composers Elise Arancio, Sepehr Pirasteh, James Primosch, Gloria Quinn, Julia Wolfe

Credited with more than 300 commissions since its founding, the intrepid PRISM Quartet (Matthew Levy, Timothy McAllister, Zachary Shemon, Taimur Sullivan) presents a program of new and recent works by composers with deep ties to the City of Brotherly Love. The program features world premieres by four extraordinarily talented composition students, each representing one of four eminent music institutions in Philadelphia: Atomic Tangerine and Indigo; Green by Elise Arancio (Curtis Institute of Music), Spliced Tapesby Brendan McMullen (University of Pennsylvania), Four Short Songs by Gloria Quinn (University of the Arts), and Transgression (Act of Sin) by Sepehr Pirasteh(Temple University Boyer College of Music and Dance). All four works were commissioned and are presented in Philadelphia as the inaugural concert of the Philadelphia Student Composers Project under the direction of Erin Busch on December 6th. The program makes its way  to the Quartet’s NYC concert series the following evening.

The program also features past Quartet commissions from master composers with longstanding ties to Philadelphia, including Cha by Philadelphia native and Pulitzer Prize-winner Julia Wolfe from the Quartet’s 2019 album, Animal, Vegetable, MineralCha is dedicated to the memory of the composer’s father. Wolfe writes: “My favorite memory is dancing the cha-cha-cha with my father. He would hit the dance floor and take me along with him. The piece takes the cha cha as a starting point and creates a joyful deconstruction/exaggeration of the style for the sax quartet.”

Pew Fellow David Serkin Ludwig — who recently left his long-time position on the composition faculty of Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music to assume the role of Dean and Director of the Music Division of the Juilliard School — contributes Josquin Microludes from the Quartet’s 2016 album, The Curtis Project. Ludwig describes Microludes as “a set of miniatures that incorporates Josquin’s Mille Regretz into its musical language, as if channel surfing between ancient music and contemporary sounds.”

The program also includes the jazz-inflected I Never Knew and Straight Up by PRISM’s frequent collaborator James Primosch (1956-2021) from the group’s 2011 album, Dedication, to honor his memory and rich musical legacy. Primosch, a Guggenheim and Pew Fellow,  served on the composition faculty of the University of Pennsylvania for more than 30 years.

The Philadelphia program, which is followed by a composer talkback moderated by Ludwig, is presented on December 6 at 7:30 PM at the University of Pennsylvania’s Fisher-Bennett Hall, Rose Concert Hall located at 3340 Walnut Street. The concert is free and open to the public. Seating is limited and is offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

Both concerts are open only to fully vaccinated and masked individuals. Anyone wishing to enter the venues must show a proof of vaccination at the door. Individuals attending the Philadelphia concert must also complete a University of Pennsylvania Green Open Pass for entry, available to complete on-site or in advance at

Featured on the program: David Serkin Ludwig’s Josquin Microludes, V. Brief mes jours definer…
photo by Ara Howrani

PRISM Quartet

The PRISM Quartet seeks to place the saxophone in unexpected contexts, chart fresh musical territory, and to challenge, inspire, and move audiences. “A bold ensemble that set the standard for contemporary-classical saxophone quartets” (The New York Times), PRISM has been presented by Carnegie Hall and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center; appeared as soloists with the Detroit Symphony and Cleveland Orchestra, and conducted residencies at the nation’s leading conservatories, including the Curtis Institute and the Oberlin Conservatory. PRISM has commissioned hundreds of works, from talented students to recipients of the Pulitzer Prize and MacArthur Fellowship. PRISM’s discography is extensive, with releases on Albany, BMOP/Sound, ECM, innova, Koch International, Naxos, and its own label, XAS Records.

“An eminent classical saxophone quartet with
an unquenchable thirst for intrigue and adventure.”
— Time Out New York


Stream, download, or buy PRISM’s newest recording, Heritage/Evolution, Vol. 2 , featuring Ravi Coltrane, Joe Lovano, and Chris Potter on your preferred music service.


The Philadelphia concert is presented by the Philadelphia Student Composers Project with generous grant from the Sachs Program for Arts Innovation, and funding from PRISM Quartet, Inc., the Curtis Institute of Music, and the University of Pennsylvania Music Dept.


December 6, 2021
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm




Fisher Bennett Hall
3340 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA United States
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