The 2024 PRISMS Festival presents Music and Utopia, in honor of Luigi Nono’s 100th birthday.

Born in 1924, Nono was committed to utopian ideals on earth and reflected in art.  He envisioned his work as a form of resistance against fascism; he also fought Mussolini’s dictatorship directly as a member of the Italian Resistance during World War II.

Luigi Nono

The festival will include three of his works. The earliest is Polifonica-Monodia-Ritmica (1951), which stand as as a landmark in contemporary chamber music. It reflects his early engagement with serialism and his innovative spirit, establishing Nono as a pivotal figure in 20th-century music and exemplifying the mid-century modernists’ idealistic notion of the perfectibility of art.

Con Luigi Dallapiccola (1979) is a tribute to the influential Italian composer Luigi Dallapiccola. This work for soprano, percussion ensemble, live electronics and female choir reflects Nono's deep admiration for his mentor and his continuous quest for new sonic possibilities.  

Finally, Canciones a Guiomar (1962) is a poignant setting of poetry by Antonio Machado, who died in exile after opposing the rise of dictator Francisco Franco during the Spanish Civil War.  The piece is a testament to Nono's skill in blending voice and minimal instrumental accompaniment, creating an intimate and haunting soundscape. A significant work in Nono's repertoire, Canciones a Guiomar exemplifies his commitment to integrating literary and musical expression.

In addition to works by Nono, the Festival will also feature music by ASU students and faculty, the winner of our 2024 call for scores, and the runners-up from last year’s call for scores.

The festival will feature brilliant performances by Arizona Contemporary Music Ensemble, Kodachrome Saxophone Quartet, Byte Duo, ASU Brass Ensemble, ASU Percussion Ensemble, Crossing 32nd Street Ensemble, as well as works with electronics and video.

Concert 1: Polifonia-Monodica-Ritmica

Saturday Octover 5, 7:30 pm. Katzin Concert Hall. Free.

Concert 2: Con Luigi DallaPiccola

Sunday October 6, 2:00 pm. Katzin Concert Hall. Free.

Concert 3: Canciones A Guiomar

Sunday October 6, 7:30 pm. Katzin Concert Hall. Free.

Talks, workshops and lectures: 

Monday October 7, 3:35 pm. Winner of the 2024 call for scores presents their music at the composition seminar. 


contemporary music festival