This Saturday the classical chamber-music group PRIZM Ensemble is performing a concert at Otherlands Coffee Bar.
If you're a chamber-music novice: Don't be afraid. It's good! And, it's accessible, a stated goal of executive director Lecolion Washington and artistic director Carina Nyberg Washington. (The married pair makes for a local chamber-music power couple.) "Nobody wants to go to a concert and not be smart enough," Lecolion says.
"We try to take away the hoity-toity part of it," Carina says. "It's not where, 'This is the stage and you're the audience and you need to sit down and be quiet.'"
Lecolion adds, "We try to show that not only is it not intimidating, it also can be tons of fun. There aren't all these rules about when to clap. Those things turn people off. If you want to clap and throw babies in the air, I say go ahead."
Plus, the PRIZM Ensemble is different from a typical chamber group. In addition to the music, the Saturday concert will integrate components of dance (performances by Ondine Geary) and poetry (recitals by Kathy Lou Schultz) created specifically for the concert and a photography exhibit called "The Forgotten Faces of Memphis" (images by Bill Piacesi).
Not even the assemblage of instruments in PRIZM is typical for chamber music. Usually, a chamber ensemble will be a woodwind quintet or a string quartet. PRIZM utilizes a nontraditional mix of instruments, allowing for arrangements that are much less well known but no less impressive.
So, if you're a chamber-music purist: Don't be afraid! Among the works Saturday will be music by Gordon Jacob, Memphis contemporary Scott Hines, and Gideon Klein. The latter was a Czech pianist and composer who died at Auschwitz at the age of 25. PRIZM will perform his last surviving work.
PRIZM Ensemble's Multi Art Extravaganza, Saturday, March 2nd, 7:30 p.m. at Otherlands Coffee Bar. Tickets $5 at the door. prizmensemble.com