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February 20, 1987 - Image 7

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1987-02-20

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ARTS
The Michigan Daily Friday, February 20, 1987 Page 7
Prism Saxophonists bend the rules

by Sherry Lichtenwalner
The Prism Saxophone Quartet is
out to prove something. And with
their talent, they will have no
problem doing so. These four
young Michigan alumns formed
their saxophone quartet in the fall
of'1984, consisting of members
Reginald Borik (soprano sax),
Matthew Levy (tenor), Michael
Whitcombe (alto), and Timothy
Miller (baritone). In a recent
interview with the quartet, Borik
spoke of the group's ability to
"play a whole gamut of styles,
more than most little chamber.
-music groups can."
"One of the things that makes a
a saxophone quartet such a neat thing
is that it can do a variety of things.
4 We can play very, very soft, we can
play loud, we can play loud and
crass, we can play soft and crass,"
says Miller.
"We try to keep everything
diverse," quotes Borik. "I think we
would like to do more twentieth-
century music if we had the
,.audience, but right now we're
keeping our programs very diverse
so we can appeal to a wide range of
°:people."
Appeal is the key problem
;-.when it comes to saxophone
quartets. Although the sound this
quartet makes is extraordinarily
beautiful, most people do not know
how versatile the saxophone can be.
"It's just not known yet," Whit -
combe explains. "There's kind of a
shield up when you meet people
who don't know saxophone or
haven't heard it."
"Every place we go, people say,
Gee, I've never heard it like that.
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instrument the size of the baritone,
the largest in the quartet. For much
of its history, the saxophone has
been considered "just a loud
instrument that only plays in
popular idioms," Borik says. "And I
guess what we're trying to do, and
it's a slow process, is to destroy
some myths and show the ver -
satility of the instrument."
And it is versatile indeed. Their
program includes Bach, Desenclos,
Woods, Galante, and a world
premiere of a piece by Robert
Boury. The quartet combines
excellent musicianship with a
definite sense of humor. Borik
quotes, "Rather than having to live
up to expectations, we're making

the expectations. We are setting the
standard."
Says Miller, "We don't relive
history. We make it."
The Prism Saxophone Quartet
will perform Saturday, Feb. 21 at

the Kerrytown Concert House,
8:00pm. Preceeding the
performance is an exhibition of late
artist Julian Levy's works,father of
quartet member Matthew Levy.

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The Prism Saxophone Quartet will bring those unique stylings to the
Kerrytown Concert House this Saturday at 8:00 p.m.

They are really surprised," says
Miller.
Part of this ignorance is due to
the youth of the saxophone.
Invented by Adolph Sax in 1843,
according to Whitcombe "it's one
of the few instruments that was
actually invented."
"All you need is some metal and
some glue," quips Levy. The
inventor "tried to come up with

something that was a cross between
a bass clarinet and a bassoon,"
Miller explains. The result was an
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