After two years of streaming the festival experience, Pacific Region International Summer Music Association (PRISMA) returns to live performances this year with an orchestra of exceptional student musicians and a concert repertoire sure to please all music lovers.
“I’m excited for the students to be able to come together again to play music and learn, but I’m also excited for the audience,” says Arthur Arnold, artistic director and co-founder of PRISMA. “For the last two years, we have not had many opportunities to be part of something bigger, something where people can interact on a larger scale. There is nothing more powerful than the energy and excitement of the audience and the musicians in the same space, and we’re all looking forward to experiencing that again.”This year also marks PRISMA’s 10th anniversary, and to celebrate, there will be more concerts and guest artists, as well as collaborations with First Nations artists.“We’re thrilled to have the Lafayette String Quartet opening PRISMA on Tuesday, June 14,” says Andy Rice, PRISMA’s development and marketing director. “One of the pieces they will be performing is a world premiere co-composed by Anishinaabe artist Nicole Mandryk, who will be singing with the quartet. We are also excited that Drew Blaney from Tla’amin Nation has composed a song celebrating PRISMA’s 10th anniversary; he will perform the piece at PRISMA on the Beach with Tla’amin singers and drummers.”
Several of the evening concerts have special themes, including a focus on Beethoven, forgotten WWII-era Dutch composers and pieces that engage both listener and musician.
“We had planned to celebrate Beethoven’s 250th birthday in 2020, so now we have Beethoven’s Belated Birthday Bash, and that will be on Thursday, June 16,” says Arthur. “The following Thursday will be a powerful concert called Forbidden Music Regained. The evening features Second World War-era Dutch composers whose work was suppressed, and even today is rarely played.
“We wanted to hold a space during the festival to remember what is going on in the world, and by doing so, hopefully we can plant the seeds for a better future. Our final concert on Friday, June 24, which is also the same program for Sail to the Symphony the following afternoon, is called Bohemian Reflections, and we’ll be taking the audience and the musicians on a fun trip through a variety of musical landscapes.”
Variety of options
Tickets for all concerts went on sale on Wednesday, May 11, but Andy reminds residents that there are a variety of free and inexpensive opportunities to take part in PRISMA.
“The weekday afternoon programs are only $5 per day or free for youth, and are a more intimate way to experience PRISMA,” he says. “They feature two half-hour limelight concerts and two master classes with our instructors and students, and audience members are very involved; the instructor will explain why they are asking students to do things, so it’s a great way to learn more about the music.”
The concerto competition semi-finals on Wednesday, June 15, and PRISMA for Kids on Tuesday, June 21, are both entry by donation.
“These concerts will have wonderful music, and even though PRISMA for Kids is geared to children, we know that people of all ages will enjoy it,” adds Andy, “from the story of Scheherazade to our percussion ensemble, because who doesn’t like drums?”