PRIZM Fest 2018 unites Memphis students through music

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PRIZM Fest 2018 unites Memphis students through music

The PRIZM Music Camp and International Chamber Music Festival wrapped in June, and we had the best year yet! Over the course of two weeks, our students grew in their craft and gained invaluable experience by learning from some of the top professional musicians in the world who served as faculty. The students and faculty participated in a total of 10 concerts, playing separately and together. We were so excited to have around 500 attendees at our performances!

This year’s PRIZM Fest saw 72 students ages 12 and up – our largest group since the festival launched nine years ago! Of those 72 students, 22 schools from the surrounding area were represented. The festival was an opportunity for students from varying racial and socioeconomic programs to come together to learn and perform music. Our class also saw the largest attendance so far among Latino students!

Not only did these students perform in public concerts, but they also dove into an intense schedule, sometimes 12 hours a day, filled with music theory and ear training classes in between rigorous rehearsals of new and challenging pieces. Students collaborated with their peers in different sized groups, ranging from string quartets to full orchestras. They were also afforded the opportunity to perform alongside their mentors in concert, giving them a glimpse into rehearsal techniques and performing with a professional musician.

The pieces were specifically chosen to reflect PRIZM’s mission of promoting diversity among the Memphis classical music scene. Works written by people of color and females were frequent among the festival’s repertoire. Students performed pieces selected based on their skill level. Since students range in age from 12 years old to college students, PRIZM strives to provide a wide variety of pieces that challenge and encourage them in their musical journey.

PRIZM’s students performed pieces that reflected their skill levels, including excerpts from Antonio Vivaldi’s traditional chamber music piece “The Four Seasons” and Georges Bizet’s renowned opera Carmen. The faculty concerts featured repertoire by African American and Latino composers such as Undine S. Moore, Samuel Coleridge Taylor, William Grant Still, Alberto Ginastera and Miquel del Aguila, as well as works by female composers Amy Beach and Lauren Bernofsky.

Thank you to Shady Grove Presbyterian Church for letting us take over their classrooms, offices and sanctuary around the clock for two whole weeks! Also, this camp and festival could not have happened without the donations of our gracious sponsors. The money donated helped provide transportation and covered students’ tuition and scholarships. We thank you for your generosity.

Save the date for 2019 PRIZM Fest – June 3 to 15!