Turning the page on a new PRIZM chapter

Bidding adieu to Rod Vester
July 2, 2021
Meet our new executive director!
August 18, 2021

Turning the page on a new PRIZM chapter

After a challenging year and a triumphant return to PRIZM Ensemble’s highly anticipated summer camp and international chamber music festival, it is time we close another chapter. Our executive director, Rod Vester, Ph.D., officially steps down today to serve as assistant professor and director of contemporary music at Shenandoah University Conservatory of Music in Winchester, Virginia. While we’re deeply saddened to see him go, we wish nothing but the best for him, as his new role perfectly aligns with his musical genius and passion for inspiring young musicians.

Rod joined the PRIZM family in 2016, during which he was tasked to expand our PRIZM in the Schools program. His success furthered our mission to bring music education to more students across a range of backgrounds, demographics and cultures. He’s empowered dozens of children and teens to explore their musical skills and progress their learning journey through our summer and winter programs. In 2018, he filled the large shoes of our founder, Lecolion Washington, and stepped up as executive director, going above and beyond for our students. During his tenure, Rod created amazing opportunities for PRIZM students who have:

  • Traveled to South Africa to play in the world renowned Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival.
  • Studied side-by-side with other Memphis students at partner organizations like Ballet on Wheels and Perfecting Gifts to widen their repertoire and skills beyond classical chamber music.
  • Collaborated with and learned directly from international, professional musicians such as the Harlem Quartet and our ever-growing roster of teaching artists during our camps and festivals.
  • Pursued academic degrees and careers in the arts to continue inspiring future generations and expanding access to music education.

Rod also reinforced PRIZM’s presence in the Memphis community by leading our chamber orchestra in the “Concert for the Next 50 Years” at the Clayborn Temple in 2018, which honored the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the 50th anniversary of his assassination.

Though Rod’s departure will leave a substantial void, we are confident that PRIZM will enter the next chapter on a high note and find a new executive director who aspires to the same values and vision that Rod pursued for our small yet mighty organization. On behalf of PRIZM Ensemble’s board of directors, our students and families, our dedicated faculty and devoted patrons, I wish Rod happiness and success in his new life chapter.


Abby Parrill
Chair, Board of Directors
PRIZM Ensemble