Diversity. Opportunity. Access.

PRIZM Ensemble is an organization uniquely committed to changing the face of Memphis’ arts community. We bring quality music programming into communities and schools across the city, and ensure that our programming is diverse, talented and represents our city’s make-up.

PRIZM Ensemble is a not-for-profit, governed by a Board of Directors, and committed to our mission and vision.


The PRIZM Ensemble builds diverse community through chamber music education, youth development, and performance.


Our story begins in 2005, when PRIZM’s founders Lecolion and Carina Washington saw a local need for a performing and touring ensemble. PRIZM Ensemble was established and several successful area concerts were hosted.

However, they realized there was more connecting to do —- bridging the divide between musical education opportunity and access.

In 2009, the PRIZM Music Camp & International Chamber Music Festival was launched and we found our niche: using the power of musical excellence to teach life skills to our city’s youth. This program also created opportunities for diverse musicians, who served as faculty, as impromptu mentors, and as artists, featured at each nightly performance.

In 2013, PRIZM in the Schools was rolled out: we partner with schools to lead an after-school music mentoring program. Select students from these programs can receive a scholarship to attend the PRIZM festival, and can thereby perform all through the year at our concerts.

In 2015, we piloted the OMusic Project, serving the children in the historic Orange Mound neighborhood, an underserved and predominantly African-American community. The project provides music instruction in an after-school setting, in collaboration with Orange Mound Outreach Ministries and Visible Community Music School.

Today, we’re pleased to have taken this journey with over 40 local Memphis school partners, partners like Ballet on Wheels, Clayborn Temple and Opera Memphis, our supportive funders and a community that values diversity, access and opportunity.


In the 2017-2018 academic year, we celebrated:

  • 7,500+ audience members at PRIZM performances
  • 33 schools involved in PRIZM programs
  • 46 Summer and Winter Camp scholarships awarded

To view our full impact in the annual report, click here.

"PRIZM teachers coach our students to understand what it is to be able to play in a chamber group versus a large ensemble, in preparation for a concert in front of their peers. PRIZM reinforces our student's skills and also encourage them to develop further."

- Philip Joyner, Orchestra Director, Hickory Ridge Middle School