ABOUT PRIZM


Diversity. Opportunity. Access.


We focus on giving youth the chance to choose their future. Our programs provide open space for young musicians to develop and connect to themselves and others through music. Leading the movement of diversity in classical music, we have ensured that our teachers and artists represent our city’s demographic make-up and have brought musical story-telling to communities and schools across Memphis.

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

 

OUR MISSION

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

OUR VISION

PRIZM connects people through music and aims to continue to be the model for the future of inclusive youth arts programs. Our vision is to create a space where everyone feels inspired, engaged, and valued, and all students have access to pathways toward chamber music enrichment.

OUR STORY

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 partnered with schools to lead an after-school music mentoring program. Select students from these programs received a scholarship to attend the PRIZM festival, and could 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 provided 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.

OUR IMPACT

In the 2022-2023 academic year, we celebrated:

  • 7,500+ audience members at PRIZM performances
  • 35 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