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Tuesday, October 15, 2013, 7:30 PM
Reservations Begin: Tuesday, September 24, 2013

PRISM Saxophone Quartet

Timothy McAllister, Soprano Saxophone
Zachary Shemon, Alto Saxophone
Matthew Levy, Tenor Saxophone
Taimur Sullivan, Baritone Saxophone
George Emmanuel Lazaridis, Piano
Showcasing the music of one of Greece’s most important contemporary composers, the Onassis Cultural Center NY presents two concerts of works by Giorgos Koumendakis, whose eclectic oeuvre ranges from chamber pieces to the music for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. The concerts bring Koumendakis together with Steven Mackey, one of the outstanding American composers of his generation, providing fresh insights into both of their musical worlds.




PRISM Saxophone Quartet PRISM Saxophone Quartet PRISM Saxophone Quartet


STEVEN MACKEY                                   Animal, Vegetable, Mineral for saxophone quartet

GIORGOS KOUMENDAKIS                      Typewriter Tune for saxophone quartet

GIORGOS KOUMENDAKIS                      Mediterranean Desert (excerpts) for solo piano (U.S. Premiere)

MODEST PETROVICH MUSORGSKY       Pictures at an Exhibition for solo piano

Tuesday, October 15, at 7:30pm
The entrance to Zankel Hall is located on Seventh Avenue between 56th and 57th Streets.

Free admission

Monday, October 14, at 7:30pm

Department of Music and Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies (Princeton, NJ)

PRISM Saxophone Quartet and George Emmanuel Lazardidis will perform the same program in a concert organized in collaboration with the Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies and the Music Department of Princeton University.

McAlpin Rehearsal Hall, Woolworth Center, Princeton University
Open to the public. Admission free.

For more information, please visit www.princeton.edu/hellenic or email hellenic@princeton.edu.

About the composers

  Giorgos Koumendakis

Giorgos Koumendakis, born in Rethymno, Crete, in 1959, is a recognized Greek composer of the new generation, whose writing is characterized by a variety of musical idioms and a constant search for new directions.

In 1985 György Ligeti chose him from among other European composers and commissioned the work Symmolpa 5, which was performed by the European Community Youth Orchestra (ECYO), conducted by James Judd, in Asolo, Bolzano,andLuxembourg. Also in 1985 (proclaimed the European Year of Music and Bach Year), he participated, along with other representative composers of the 20th century, in the Biennale di Venezia with the work Symmolpa 4, performed by the Divertimento Ensemble and Sandro Gorli. In 1987 Koumendakiscollaborated for the first time with the Ensemble InterContemporain and Arturo Tamayo in Frankfurt for his work Symmolpa 3. In the same year, Mathias Bamert and the ECYO presented Symmolpa 3 at the Frankfurt Feste. In 1988 Symmolpa 4 was performed by Ingo Metzmacher and the Hong Kong Ensemble at the World Music Days Festival in Hong Kong. In 1990 his opera There Will Be a Daywas presented in Oslo by the Oslo Sinfonietta and Christian Eggen, and the Xenakis Ensemble with Diego Masson performed the Concertino for Piano at the Nieuwe Muziek Middelburg Festival in Holland.

In 1992 he won the Prix de Rome and spent the following year as composer in residence at the French Academy of Rome (Villa Medici), where his work Eros-Daemon was performed by the countertenor Aris Christofellis. In the same year, pianist Jay Gottlieb played Symmolpa 1 at the Présences ΄92 festival in Paris, at Tage für Neue Musik in Zürich, and at the Lecce Festival. In 1992 he collaborated for the first time with D. Papaioannou and the Edafos Dance Theatre Company(Moons-Sappho). In 1994 he was awarded the Nikos Kazantzakis Prize. In 1995, at the Argos Festival (Greece), his opera There Will Be a Daywas directed by Victor Arditis and performed by the Oslo Sinfonietta and Stefan Sköld. In 1998 his work Journey into theNight was presented by the Orchestre des Jeunes de la Mediterranée and Henri Gallois at the Aix en Provence Festival.

From 1998 to 2000, Koumendakis worked as composer in residence for Clio Gould and the BT Scottish Ensemble in London, sponsored by the Michael Marks Charitable Trust. In the year 2000, pianist Alexandra Papastefanou presented his work Mediterranean Desert at the Hellenic Centre in London. In 2002 Helena Papandreou played Melody for Guitar at the Ypres Guitar Festival in Belgium, at the Luigi Legnani Festival, at the Dundee Guitar Festival and the 11th Festival Internationale della Chitara città di Mottola 2002. In the same year, the Nash Ensemble performed the Concertino for Piano. In 2004 he was musical director, composer, and music concept creator of the opening and closing ceremonies of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. Also that year, Hae-Sun Kang played Typewriter Tune for Violin at the Présences festival in Paris. In 2005 the Athens Festival dedicated two concerts to Koumendakis at the Little Theatre of Ancient Epidaurus with the Camerata, the Accentus/Axe 21 Chamber Choir, and soprano Elena Kelessidi, directed by D. Papaioannou. In 2007 his work Amor Fati was performed at the Thessaloniki Concert Hall by the Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Myron Michailidis, in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the death of great Greek writer Nikos Kazantzakis. In 2007–2008, Koumendakis participated in the Cultural Year of Greece in China, with the Beijing Symphony Orchestra and Tan Lihua. In 2008 he composed Point of No Return, a work commissioned by the Kronos Quartet. Also in 2008, the Orchestra of Colours conducted by Miltos Logiadis presented Amor Fati in Madrid and, in 2009, at the Athens Festival. In the same year, at the Milano Incontra La Grecia festival, the work Five More Steps until You Fall Asleep was performed by the Dissonart Ensemble and the Sentieri Selvaggi Ensemble. In 2010 his composition The Pedal Tone for a Child was presented by Myron Michailidis and the Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra (a work commissioned by the Thessaloniki Concert Hall, in celebration of the 10th anniversary of its opening), and the Athens State Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Alkis Baltas played Amor Fati at the Athens Concert Hall. In the same year, his Unknown Dialects was presented at the Athens Festival by the Dissonart Ensemble (directed by Alexandros Efklidis, set and costumes by Petros Touloudis), while the Nederlands Blazers Ensemble played Typewriter Tune for Amplified Chamber Ensemble in Amsterdam.

Giorgos Koumendakis was the first guest of the “Carte blanche” series at the Athens Concert Hall in 2011, where the Piano Concerto No. 4The Pedal Tone for a Middle-Aged Man was performed by George-Emmanuel Lazaridis and the Camerata, conducted by George Koundouris. In the same year, the Prism Quartet presented Typewriter Tune for Sax Quartet in New York. In 2012 the Onassis Cultural Centrededicated the “Composer’s Portrait” concert cycle to Koumendakis with a series of performances and concerts. He has also composed music for four Greek tragedies performed at the Epidaurus Festival (1981, 1984, 1989, and 1996) by the National Theatre, the Art Theatre and the Notos Theatre.

As guest composer for 2012–2014, he was commissioned by the Greek National Opera to compose The Murderess, an opera based on the novel of the same name by Alexandros Papadiamantis, and also a contemporary opera for children and adults entitled Omiros-Orimos, flying carpet-Odyssey, to be produced by the network opus21musikplus and scheduled to premiere in October 2013 at Munich Gasteig.

His works have been performed at important concert halls such as the Salle Olivier Messiaen, Théâtre de l’Archevêché, Teatro La Fenice, Alte Oper, Benesse Museum at Naoshima, Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), Purcell Room, Wigmore Hall, Carnegie Hall, the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing, Muziekgebouw aan’t IJ (Amsterdam), Auditorio Nacional de Música (Madrid), Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center (Maryland), Piccolo Teatro (Milano), Guarnerius Art Center (Belgrade), Odeon of Herodes Atticus (Athens), Athens Concert Hall, Thessaloniki Concert Hall, and the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus.

His music has also been conducted by Martin Brabbins, Gaetano Colajanni, Olivier Cuendet, Christopher Warren-Green, Paul Chiang, Henry Kucharzyk, Peter Wiegold, Igor Savrouk, Gunther Schuller, Nikos Tsouchlos, Alexandros Myrat, and Theodore Antoniou.

  Steven Mackey

Steven Mackey, born in 1956 to American parents stationed in Frankfurt, Germany, is regarded as one of the leading composers of his generation and has composed for orchestra, chamber ensembles, dance and opera. His first musical passion was playing the electric guitar in rock bands based in northern California. He blazed a trail in the 1980s and ‘90s by including the electric guitar and vernacular music influence in his concert music. He regularly performs his own work and is also active as an improvising musician with his band Big Farm.

Mackey’s orchestral music has been presented by major orchestras around the world, from the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the San Francisco and Chicago Symphonies, the BBC Philharmonic, Concertgebouw orchestra, and the Austrian Radio Symphony to the Sydney Symphony and the Tokyo Philharmonic. As a guitarist, Mackey has performed his chamber music with the Kronos Quartet, Arditti Quartet, London Sinfonietta, Nexttime Ensemble (Parma), Psappha (Manchester), and Joey Baron.

Two of his works—Stumble to Grace, a piano concerto for Orli Shaham, co-commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the St. Louis and New Jersey Symphonies, and TONIC, an orchestral work for the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia—have recently premiered.

He is currently working on a piece for the Brentano String Quartet, jointly commissioned by Carnegie Hall and the Nasher Museum in Dallas to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy, as well as a commission from the Aquarium of the Pacific to celebrate the “Urban Ocean.” Upcoming projects include a large multi-movement symphonic work for the Los Angeles Philharmonic and a trumpet concerto for virtuoso Hakan Hardenberger commissioned by the Swedish Chamber Orchestra.

Mackey has been honored with numerous awards, including a Grammy, several awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Stoeger Prize from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center Friedheim Award, and many others. He has been the composer-in-residence at major music festivals, including Tanglewood, Aspen, and the Holland Festival.

His monodrama, Ravenshead, for tenor/actor (Rinde Eckert) and electro-acoustic band/ensemble (the Paul Dresher Ensemble), has been performed nearly one hundred times and is available on a MINMAX CD. In a year-end review of cultural events, USA Today crowned the work the “Best New Opera of 1998.”

Many CD’s feature works by Mackey. Dreamhouse (2010) and Lonely Motel: Music from Slide (2011) were each nominated for four Grammy awards, and Mackey won a Grammy for Best Small Ensemble Performance for Lonely Motel.

Steven Mackey is currently Professor of Music and Chair of the Department of Music at Princeton University, where he has been a member of the faculty since 1985. Helping to shape the next generation of composers and musicians, he teaches composition, theory, twentieth-century music, improvisation, and a variety of special topics. He regularly coaches and conducts new work by student composers, as well as twentieth-century classics. He was the recipient of Princeton University’s first Distinguished Teaching Award in 1991.

Mackey’s web site is www.stevenmackey.com. His music is published by Boosey & Hawkes. He lives in Princeton, New Jersey, with his wife, composer Sarah Kirkland Snider, and their son, Jasper, and daughter, Dylan.

Modest Petrovich Musorgsky

Modest Musorgsky (1839-1881) had a piecemeal musical education and failed to finish most of his major works. He came from an aristocratic family, but was forced, when the family’s resources dwindled, to take a job in the Imperial Russian government, hand-copying state property deeds for a living. Musically, he was supported by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, who helped fill in the gaps in his training and served, as points, as his spiritual mentor. Musorgsky was also influenced, indeed controlled, by the nationalist ideologue Vladimir Stasov, whose thoughts on what Russian music could and should sound like continue to influence our own.  

Musorgsky’s music tends to be described as disobedient, exotic, and primitive in terms of its harmonic and melodic rule-breaking. The labels are reductive, but such was how Musorgsky and the other 19th century Russian composers known as the Mighty Five (Rimsky-Korsakov, Mily Balakirev, Alexander Borodin, and César Cui) marketed themselves to their audiences, both at home in Russia and abroad. Musorgsky’s association with Russian nationalist trends in composition is manifest in the subjects that he chose for his mature operas and his experimentation with speech-based declamation. He derived inspiration from folksong and folklore and experimented with scales of ancient Slavic pedigree.

His bursts of creativity were tempered by drink and by the lashing he received from music critics in St. Petersburg, chiefly for his unconventional approach to operatic composition. Recognizing his genius, his colleagues rescued his mature scores from oblivion. His twice-composed opera Boris Godunov (1869/72) ranks among the greatest in the repertoire. The tale it tells is exceedingly dark, suggesting that the political conflicts of Russia’s past are doomed to be repeated in the future. The opera that succeeded it, Khovanshchina (1880), which is set in the time of Peter the Great, provides an even grimmer indictment of Russia.               

The frightful, blood-red portrait that was made of Musorgsky just before his death from alcoholism portrays him as a sacrificial victim both of his art and his nation. His letters and the reminiscences of those who knew him in St. Petersburg create the image of a musical prophet. 


About the artists

  George Emmanuel Lazaridis

Born in Greece in 1978, George Emmanuel Lazaridis enjoys a flourishing international career that has taken him from the United States and Mexico to Europe, Russia, Egypt, and the Middle East. He started composing at the age of four and attracted public attention at the age of six, appearing on various television programs and a special 45-minute radio broadcast on the Greek National Radio. Mentored by Yonty Solomon at the Royal College of Music in London, Lazaridis has also worked with Alfred Brendel, Ruth Nye, Domna Evnouhidou, Paul Badura Skoda, Noretta Conci Leech, and Douglas Finch. Since the age of eleven he has received many prizes, honorary awards, and scholarships, and during the past twenty years he has performed in some of the most prestigious international venues, including Royal Albert Hall, Carnegie Hall, Concertgebouw, St. Petersburg Philharmonia Hall, and the Palais des Beaux Arts. His appearances have received great critical acclaim from audiences and critics alike, who recognize him as one of the finest pianists of his generation.

Lazaridis has performed with many leading orchestras, under the directionof Sir Neville Marriner, Ingo Metzmacher, Yuri Temirkanov, Yoel Levi, Theodor Guschlbauer, Michel Tabachnik, Maxim Shostakovich, Pascal Rofe, Nikolai Alexeev, William Boughton, Alexander Myrat, and others. He has collaborated with renowned ensembles and artists in chamber music performances and has also performed in many international festivals. Recent tours have included the Rising Stars concert series in Europe and New York, a tour with the Medici Quartet in Greece and the United Kingdom, and a concert tour with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Yuri Temirkanov.

His Liszt recordings were recently selected within the top fifty best releases of the decade by the international magazine Pianist, and his release of Schumann’s “Papillon” has been ranked among the five best historical performances, alongside such keyboard giants as Sviatoslav Richter and Claudio Arrau. His performances have been described as “special enough to be beyond comparison” (Adrian Jack of BBC Music Magazine) and of “such drama, power and concentration, that [they] hold their own even if you stop to consider celebrated recordings of Horowitz, Argerich, Brendel, and Zimmerman” (Bryce Morrison of Gramophone Magazine).

Lazaridis will soon release two new albums: one at ECM with George Koumendakis’s piano concertos nos.3 and 4, both of which were composed especially for him, and the other at SOMM with major works by Franz Schubert. As a composer, he has received commissions from the Greek Ministry of Culture, the Europa Cantat International Festival, the Cultural Capital of Europe 1997, the Melina Merkouri Foundation, the New Arts Generation Festival in Birmingham, the Athens International Festival, and the Athens State Orchestra.

Lazaridis has also been an active teacher, a successful artistic director, and the founder of new international cultural organizations, including ADAP in 2002, an international association of artists that gives worldwide performances for peace. In 2006 he co-founded the Music-Village International Festival in Mount Pelion, one of the few international music societies of its kind, and in January 2013, he co-founded the Kyklos Ensemble. He has given master classes on piano performance, body language, and the psychology of live interpretation at the Trinity College of Music, Birmingham City University, the Manhattan School of Music, the Megaron Halls, Kutztown University, and numerous conservatories in Greece and the United Kingdom. Recently he served as head of music programming at the Demetria International Festival and since September 2010, he has been artistic director of the Megaron, the Thessaloniki Concert Halls Organization.

  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 performed in Carnegie Hall in the Making Music Series, in Alice Tully Hall with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and throughout Latin America under the auspices of the United States Information Agency. PRISM has also been presented to critical acclaim as soloists with the Detroit Symphony and Cleveland Orchestra and conducted residencies at the nation’s leading conservatories, including the Curtis Institute of Music and the Oberlin Conservatory.

Champions of new music, PRISM has commissioned more than 150 works, many by internationally celebrated composers, including Pulitzer Prize-winners William Bolcom, Jennifer Higdon, Zhou Long, and Bernard Rands; Guggenheim Fellows William Albright, Martin Bresnick, Chen Yi, Lee Hyla, and Steven Mackey; MacArthur “Genius” Award recipient Bright Sheng; and jazz masters Greg Osby and Tim Ries. In 1997, PRISM initiated its own concert series in Philadelphia and New York City, presenting the newest compositions created for their ensemble by composers from around the world. The series has featured an eclectic range of guest artists, including Ethel, the Talujon Percussion Quartet, Music From China, Miro Dance Theatre, Cantori New York, and top jazz artists, including guitarist Ben Monder, saxophonist Rick Margitza, and drummers Gerald Cleaver, Mark Ferber, and John Riley. PRISM has also joined forces with the New York Consort of Viols, Opera Colorado, and the Chilean rock band Inti-Illimani in touring engagements.

PRISM’s discography is extensive, documenting more than sixty works commissioned by the Quartet on Albany, innova, Koch, Naxos, New Dynamic, and New Focus. PRISM may also be heard on the soundtrack of the film Two Plus One, by Emmy nominee Eugene Martin, scored by Quartet member Matthew Levy, and has been featured in the theme music to the weekly PBS news magazine "NOW."

PRISM performs exclusively on Selmer saxophones and mouthpieces.

PRISM Quartet:

Hailed as “a master of his instrument” (Audiophile Audition) known for “evocative and bravura playing” (The Classical Review), Timothy McAllister (soprano sax) serves as Associate Professor of Saxophone and Co-Director of the Institute for New Music at the Northwestern University Bienen School of Music. Additionally, he spends his summers as distinguished artist faculty of the Interlochen Arts Camp in Michigan and regularly performs at the Cabrillo Festival for Contemporary Music in Santa Cruz, California, each August. He has recently been featured with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Toronto Symphony, Tokyo Wind Symphony, Dallas Wind Symphony, and United States Navy Band, among others. He holds degrees and honors from the University of Michigan, including the Doctor of Musical Arts and the Albert A. Stanley Medal. McAllister's work can be heard on the Deutsche Grammophon, Naxos, OMM, Stradivarius, Centaur, AUR, Albany, New Dynamic, Equilibrium, New Focus, and innova record labels.

First-prize winner in the inaugural U.S. International Saxophone Symposium and Competition, Zachary Shemon (alto sax) serves as Assistant Professor of Saxophone at the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Conservatory of Music. He performs regularly throughout the United States as a soloist and chamber musician, including concerto appearances with the Indiana University Philharmonic Orchestra, University of Michigan Symphony and Concert Bands, Plymouth MI Symphony, Ann Arbor Concert Band, and Firelands Symphony. He was a prizewinner in the 2005 and 2011 Fischoff International Chamber Music Competitions and is a founding member of the Arundo Donax Reed Quintet. He is pursuing a Doctor of Music degree from Indiana University, holds degrees from the University of Michigan (BM, BSE, MM) and Indiana University (Performer Diploma), and is a recent fellow at the Aspen Music Festival and at the Université Européenne de Saxophone in Gap, France. Shemon is also a Rico Performing Artist and endorses Rico Reserve Classic saxophone reeds.

Matthew Levy (tenor sax) has been hailed by the Saxophone Journal as “a complete virtuoso of the tenor saxophone” and by the New York Times for his “energetic and enlivening” performances. A recipient of composition fellowships from the Independence Foundation and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and grants from the NEA and American Composers Forum, he has scored four motion pictures, including PBS’s Diary of a City Priest, which was featured at the Sundance Film Festival. His music is highlighted on three PRISM recordings on Koch and innova. He has also recorded for Deutsche Grammophon, Tzadik, and Grammavision; collaborated with a host of choreographers/dance companies, among them Peter Sparling and Scrap; and appeared as a guest artist with the Detroit Symphony, Dolce Suono, and counter)induction. He holds three degrees from the University of Michigan, where he was a recipient of the Lawrence Teal Award, and has served on the faculties of the Universities of Michigan, Redlands, and Toledo. He currently teaches saxophone at the University of Pennsylvania’s College House Program. From 2000 to 2011, he served as director of the Philadelphia Music Project at the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.

Taimur Sullivan (baritone sax) enjoys a prolific career as a soloist, chamber musician, and educator. His performances have taken him from the stages of Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center to engagements in Russia and Germany and throughout Latin America. The New York Times praised him as "outstanding . . . his melodies phrased as if this were an old and cherished classic, his virtuosity supreme." The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel wrote that Taimur is "talented, fearless and sensitive . . . the sounds he made were fully and deliciously drawn." He appears on more than twenty-five recordings for the New World, Mode, Albany, innova, Capstone, Mastersound, Bonk and Zuma labels, and he has most recently recorded James Aikman's Concerto for Alto Saxophone with Russia's St. Petersburg Symphony. In honor of his distinguished record of promoting and presenting new works for the saxophone, including more than 150 premieres, Meet The Composer named him one of eight "Soloist Champions" in the United States. Mr. Sullivan is the Artist/Professor of Saxophone at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.



Tuesday, October 1, at 7:30pm
Merkin Concert Hall

George Emmanuel Lazaridis will also perform in a concert presented by the Hellenic-American Cultural Foundation in association with the Onassis Foundation (USA) at Kaufman Music Center, Merkin Concert Hall.

Free admission
For tickets, please call the Merkin Concert Hall Box Office at 212-501-3330.

For more information, please visit www.hacfoundation.org.


Photo credit:

Concert at Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall: Photos by Richard Termine
PRISM Saxophone Quartet: Cylla von Tiedmann
George Emmanuel Lazaridis: Athanasios Kolalas
Giorgos Koumendakis: Petros Touloudis
Steven Mackey: Jane Richey

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