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Color Theory 2.0: Saxophones and Percussion / PRISM Quartet with Susie Ibarra and Tyshawn Sorey

Sunday, June 3, 2018
at 8:00 PM

The DiMenna Center for Classical Music
450 West 37th Street
New York, NY 10018


Event Information

The PRISM Quartet presents Color Theory 2.0: Saxophones and Percussion following the 2017 release of the group’s critically acclaimed COLOR THEORY album with So Percussion and Partch. Color Theory 2.0 spotlights Susie Ibarra and Tyshawn Sorey, groundbreaking percussionist/composers who join PRISM as soloists in world premieres of their own works. 

Both Ibarra and Sorey share PRISM’s dedication to crossing musical boundaries; they bring a vast array of cultural, compositional, and improvisatory practices to the project. Color Theory 2.0 also features world premieres of stand-alone saxophone quartets by Elizabeth Hoffman, Professor of Composition at New York University, and Max Chung, winner of the annual PRISM Quartet/Walden School Young Composer Commissioning Award.

Complete info at https://www.prismquartet.com/concerts/color-theory-2-0/


Color Theory 2.0 is a music project inspired by science and the visual arts. In the 1670s, Sir Isaac Newton discovered the origin of color by shining a beam of light through a prism, splitting it into the colors of a rainbow. Throughout the centuries, visual artists have developed a body of knowledge (color theory) about mixing pigments to create color combinations that provoke powerful emotional responses.

We are using the idea of “color” as a framework to explore the spectra that make up instrumental sound, to create a new body of music combining saxophones and percussion. Color Theory pioneers new possibilities of orchestration and musical color with first-time collaborations that represent enormous unexplored potential.


“When I listen to PRISM Quartet, I am struck by their ability to move as one instrument. Sometimes ethereal in their delicate chords, sometimes enigmatic with multiple musical conversations moving along in contradiction. Through all of this, I am drawn to their profoundly beautiful sound which makes me dream about its origins and connections to the environment. I think of Kalinga musicians in the forest of the Cordilleras, walking and playing interlocking bamboo to ward off evil spirits. Is it a magpie waterfowl along the Ganges? Their performance can be unpredictable yet flowing like water, or light, rapid and flickering like the fireflies in summer. I will perform alongside the Quartet on percussion instruments that can gather both dynamic force and delicacy using an hourglass harp to play water pitches, to drumset, gongs, and an array of textural percussion.” - Susie Ibarra

“Working with the PRISM Quartet in a chamber setting will give me a chance to explore sonic landscapes that fall outside of the music I create with my regular collaborators. My work will explore the quiet intersection of saxophone harmonics and overtones produced by metal percussion instruments (e.g. cymbals, gongs). I imagine a large percussion setup, but no drum set. The work will incorporate ‘masked’ improvisation that will interact seamlessly with composed music. I’ll draw on my relationship with saxophone music from the African American diaspora, particularly artists like Roscoe Mitchell and Anthony Braxton, by expanding syntactical aspects of their language into this new work.” - Tyshawn Sorey