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PRISM Quartet

Music for Saxophones: William Albright

PRISM Quartet: Music for Saxophones: William Albright (Innova)

The four reedists of America's foremost chamber ensemble pay homage to the virtuosic, soulful, and daringly eclectic body of work by William Albright.

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product information:

UPC: 726708668723

Label: Innova
Catalog ID: Innova 687
Squidco Product Code: 9421

Format: CD
Condition: Sale (New)
Released: 2007
Country: USA
Packaging: Jewel Tray


PRISM Quartet: Matthew Levy-tenor, alto saxophone

Timoty McAllister-soprano saxophone

Michael Whitcombe-alto saxophone

Taimur Sullivan-baritone, alto saxophone

University of Michigan Symphony Band

Marilyn Nonken, Matthew Herskowit-piano

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track listing:

1. Fantasy Etudes 25:34

2. Heater 8:47

3. Pit Band 8:53

4. Doo-Dah 10:22

5. Sonata 20:13

6. One Sheet Text
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"The PRISM Quartet pays homage to William Albright (1944-1998) in their latest innova release. This remarkable disc of Albright's principal works for saxophone offers powerful testimony to the full range of his personality and his fascination with the expressive power of the instrument. A composer whose works move from sublime laments to raucous jazz, Albright created an extensive body of saxophone repertoire that is at once virtuosic, soulful, and daringly eclectic. His deep affinity for the instrument lasted throughout his career, until a long struggle with alcoholism led to his untimely death at the age of 53. Albright exerted a profound influence on the artistic development of the PRISM Quartet during the ensemble's formative years at the University of Michigan in the 1980s, inspiring them to champion new music with over 100 commissions by many of the nation's most celebrated composers.

The disc features "Fantasy Etudes for saxophone quartet," commissioned by PRISM in 1992, which Albright once described as "intended to turn the sax on its side" with undertones of Highland bagpipes, steam engines, Victorian pump organs, and the big band sounds of 1950s television police dramas; "Sonata for alto saxophone and piano," a masterful cornerstone of the saxophone repertoire, moving between blistering energy, abandon, and profound sadness; "Pit Band for alto sax, bass clarinet and piano," a tongue-in-cheek parody of an evening's worth of theatre music, digested and compressed to a few minutes; "Doo-Dah for three alto saxophones," Albright's first saxophone work, which melds three saxophones into one lush timbre, with roots in American popular song, Southern gospel music, blues, and free jazz.; and "Heater: Saga for alto saxophone and symphony band." Taking its name from the gangster era slang term for a machine gun, "Heater" reflects Albright's signature combination of contemporary harmonic language infused with jazz idioms of the 1920s and 30s."-Innova

Artist Biographies:

"Taimur Sullivan is Associate Professor of Saxophone at Northwestern University, and a member of the acclaimed PRISM Quartet. His performances have taken him from the stages of Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and the Knitting Factory, to engagements in Russia, China, England, Germany, and throughout Latin America. He has garnered critical praise as "outstanding...his melodies phrased as if this were an old and cherished classic, his virtuosity supreme" (New York Times), and as a player of "dazzling proficiency" (American Record Guide).

Mr. Sullivan has dedicated much of his career to promoting new repertoire for the saxophone, and has given the premieres of over 200 solo and chamber works by composers including William Bolcom, Alvin Lucier, Gavin Bryars, Libby Larsen, Gunther Schuller, Olga Neuwirth, John Harbison, Martin Bresnick, Donnacha Dennehy, and many others. He has also presented the American premieres of compositions by important European figures such as Gerard Grisey, Toshio Hosokawa, Philippe Hurel, Michael Finnissy, Bruno Mantovani, Giya Kancheli, and Jean-Claude Risset. In honor of his distinguished record of promoting and presenting new works for the saxophone, the New York-based arts-advocacy organization Meet The Composer named him one of eight "Soloist Champions" in the United States.

As a member of PRISM Quartet for 21 years, Sullivan has performed concertos with orchestras nationwide, including the Cleveland Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, and Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and has been invited to conducted residencies at the nation's leading conservatories including the Curtis Institute of Music, Rice University, and Princeton University. Champions of new music, PRISM has commissioned over 200 works, many by internationally celebrated composers, including Pulitzer Prize-winners Julia Wolfe, William Bolcom, Jennifer Higdon, Zhou Long, and Bernard Rands; MacArthur "Genius" Award recipients Bright Sheng and Miguel Zenón; Guggenheim Fellows William Albright, Martin Bresnick, Chen Yi, Lee Hyla, and Steven Mackey; and jazz masters Greg Osby, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Steve Lehman, and Dave Liebman.

From 2005-2016, Mr. Sullivan was the saxophone professor at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and from 2000-2005 was on the performance faculty at Columbia University. He appears on over 30 recordings, and performs exclusively on Selmer saxophones and mouthpieces."

-Taimur Sullivan Website (

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