There are so few composers of contemporary music who have expanded its idiom and its language that they can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Among those few, the shape-shifting guitarist/electronics manipulator Gene Pritsker is one of the only composers who continue to break down the barriers that still exist in the sometimes water-tight compartments that industry marketers revel in. - Raul d'Gama Rose, All About Jazz, March 2012
...audacious Reinventions mixed hip-hop turntable scratching (played on a laptop computer), flamboyant tango rhythms, an art-metal guitar solo and occasionally clubfooted beats, yet its Bach-derived framework was always evident. Smaller Gates, Circuit and Lost Illusions 3, all by Mr. Pritsker, made strikingly idiomatic use of tricks from techno and hip-hop. The multitalented Mr. Pritsker even rapped capably during the first of two encores.
- Steve Smith, The New York Times, April 13, 2009
"Pritsker's music is not designed for easy listening or to melt into the background. It is insistent. It demands attention and curiosity.
- Chuin-Wei Yap, New York Newsday, February 19th, 2003
"Barring the obvious exceptions, much of 21st-century composition appears to be thinning in significance, but this might be about to change. Gene Pritsker is one of a very spare handful of composers affecting this change, and evidence of this is found in the Varieties of Religious Experiences Suite" - Raul d'Gama Rose, All About Jazz, June 2010
"Gene Pritsker's music is much more than the sum of the elements involved. It's one of the more unusual works-performances I've heard in some time. It will no doubt appeal to those who look for rock that moves deeply into the "serious" music category. Those enthusiasts of contemporary classical and improvisation will find something very different here. No matter what camp you may be a part of, this recording will stretch the boundaries of what you expect."
- Grego Applegate Edwards, Gapplegate Guitar & Bass Blog, Aug. 2010
Pritsker dissolves the artificial boundaries between high brow, low brow, classical, popular musics
and elevates the idea that if it's done well it is great music, regardless of the style or genre.
- Joseph Pehrson, The Music Connoisseur, Fall 2001
"It is amazing how masterfully Pritsker explored the opportunities offered by James poetic vocabulary."
"Exceptionally curious and inclusive rather than aggressive or confrontational"
"The VRE Suite is full of tasteful improvisation, sturdy melodies and voice-leading,
strong grooves. Mystical it may be, but VRE Suite is far from enigmatic. It positively asserts
that your cosmic, mystical experience is as genuine as my mystical experience; or
as genuine as that of any organized religion.
- Douglas McNair, Chamber Music Today, October 2010
If they don't send him (Pritsker) into an insane asylum, then he will be recognized as a genius
- Dmitry Radyshevski, Insight
(Russian Newspaper), Jan. 1994
A highlight of the evening was a rendition of a pulsating duet called Cauldron of Unsatisfied Hatred,
composed by Gene Pritsker.
- Brian Wise , New York Times, Oct. 2006
Of the new works, Mr. Pritskers Self Laceration (2006) was the most immediately striking.
It begins with a rhythmically insistent, irresistibly zesty movement in which the focus moves
briskly around the ensemble. The clarinet, violin, cello, flute and piano each have exposed
lines that capture the character of the instrument and create a lively dialogue. The individual
instruments speak in distinct, idiomatic voices.
- Allan Kozinn, The New York Times, November 2006
"This new recording is beautiful musically and dramatically." "Delicate, taut, and incisive writing. Beautiful
interplay between instruments and voices, between the rhythm/melodies/harmonies and the text. Synaptic
guitar picking; a really elegant solo improvisation on Track 5." "I m uplifted by this new Pritsker CDimpressed
by the authenticity of music that had to come out, had to be composed, had to exist." "T his opera by Gene
Pritsker honors that Jamesian notion. The opera and this recording are a welcome invitation to self-discovery, to
mutual respect and tolerance for the spirituality (or lack thereof) of others, and to joyous, mindful living in a community.
Look for the CD when it's released in February. Very worth your listening!"
- Doug McNair, Chamber Music Today, Jan. 2012
"Pritsker seems to look at all music as one genre, in which all other possible styles, sounds, and traditions are
meant to be used as building blocks and palette colors, combined in various configurations to create a boundless
whole. This result is almost always more interesting, and representative of how most new music will be born
in the 21st century, as genres and barriers begin to vanish, and as styles begin cross-fertilizing in previously
- Evan Burke, ICareIf/YouListen.com - March 2012
There are so few composers of contemporary music who have expanded its idiom and its language that they
can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Among those few, the shape-shifting guitarist/electronics manipulator
Gene Pritsker is one of the only composers who continues to break down the barriers that still exist in the sometimes
water-tight compartments that industry marketers revel in.
- Raul d'Gama Rose, All About Jazz, March 2012
Very original in approach - Barry L. Cohen, The Music Connoisseur, Fall 1996
Pritsker is a rule-breaking composer-guitarist (and rapper) who impresses funk and rock beats onto classical structures.
- The New Yorker, Jan. 2010
"'Samplestra' combines electronic samples with classical instruments... The result is fascinating. This is contemporary classical music at its best. I love it."
- United-Mutations. May, 2013
"As music, which ultimately we of course evaluate anything new on the basis of, it hangs together remarkably well. Don't try to pin it down stylistically but let it take you where it may. If you do that you will find an enormously stimulating program. This is the sort of thing Gene has been working on for some time, and he has gotten extraordinarily adept at juggling the elements and making it all very cohesive and very musical. Brilliant!"
- Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review
"His expressive reach is so wide as to encompass everything from ethno/techno, rock/jazz fusion, classical opera and more, and it all seems to be effortlessly integrated within his anima and comes out through different facets of his persona. You could almost see him as a modern day renaissance man. Most of the music on this new CD is fast-paced, frenetic, driven by nervous energy and always fleshing out details like an overclocked cpu. Traces of Fripp, Bruford, Weather Report, Bryars, Zappa, are vaguely present within the mesh of his music, but never copied, just simply evoked. And when Gene Pritsker comes up for air, slows down, and lets his expressive side take over, as in the slow movement of Electrically Tragic, truly evocative and moving music comes to the surface."
- Classical Music Sentinel, Jean-Yves Duperron- May, 2013
"Anyone interested in contemporary guitar music and playing who has the versatility to appreciate both the classical acoustic and electric genre should be in possession of this CD......This piece (Quaalude & Fugues) is an incredibly imaginative, accomplished, and varied work for electric guitar. So far, I have encountered nothing like it for this instrument."
- Joseph Pehrson, The Music Connoisseur, Summer/Fall 2009
"Gene Pritsker personifies the composer in the so-called postmodern world today. He engages with hip-hop, rap, r&b and rock while simultaneously developing an original style (or styles) in modern classical music....subversive disregard for genre distinctions while providing some breathtaking music...The advance guard of musical genre conflation-ists out there....Pritsker is a phenomenon."
"moments that come together in a sublime new hybrid,"
"this is some startlingly original music. I am very encouraged when I hear music like this"
- Grego Applegate Edwards, Gapplegate Guitar & Bass Blog, Nov.. 2010
Gene Pritsker's aptly named Sound Liberation are afraid of nothing, mixing rhythm and genre to the point where the listener simply gives up on labels and enjoys the ride! The quintet of guitars, cello, bass and drums generate a truly unique sound with plenty of group and solo improvisation building on Pritsker's strong compositions - comparisons with Sonny Sharrock are apt, but don't tell the whole story - grab this indie gem now!
- RootdownFM.com, 2010
Lost Illusions is a fascinating and virtuosic soundscape...music to which one could not remain indifferent.
- Brett Allen-Bayes, dbmagazine.com.au, March 2004
Never had I heard Pritsker try to put all these elements together in one composition. Here, in Money, he does, and it is the apotheosis of his form. This is the best Pritsker work I have ever heard. We can only hope that Gene Pritsker, in his perfection of this very personal and idiosyncratic form and the strength of his exceptional talent, can reach the very pinnacle of the compositional mound.
- Joseph Pehrson, The Music Connoisseur, Fall 2006
Gene Pritskers Quartet Silence is Unhealthy shows how dull punches can look like musical enlightenment. This is definitely more artful, but I'm not sure if it is healthier.
- Ivona Jelcic, Kultur, Austria, Aug. 2007
"'Perhaps the most intriguing work, however, is Gene Pritsker's Reinventions (Piano Concerto), and this one is harder to classify. It includes elements of hip-hop (probably a first for the Bach fusion field, but with many new avenues suggested by the composer in his role as digital DJ), tango, and various Middle Eastern and Asian traditions, all with excerpts from Bach's Clavierbüchlein dropping in and out. This ebullient work is absolutely packed with new ideas, perhaps too much so, but it is most emphatically not boring, and just when you think all the rabbits have been pulled out of the hat, a spectral Bach voice appears in the final movement.."
- James Manheim, allmusiccom. July, 2013
“Composer Gene Pritsker writes here with all the colors of the musical history rainbow, and this is a very good cross-genre collection of work.”.."This is a wild, eclectic (obviously) mix of music."
- Stephanie Boyd, American Record Guide, 12/18
"Composer Gene Pritsker gets adventurous with some modern sounds"... "some fun swing actually gets you on your feet for “Plie’.” Cut up clippings from various musical magazines?"
- Jazz weekly G. Harris, 12/15/18
“…Gene Pritsker who is not only prolific, but whose sensibility seems to subsume a variety of sources – not only of music, but also literature and painting – and is yet a singular voice in contemporary music. Mr Pritsker is also a proverbial chameleon and one is always at a loss as to what to expect from him from one composition to the next…Naturally one expects nothing to be predictable – and indeed it is as if Mr Pritsker’s musical world comprises of the sun revolving around the earth instead of otherwise…..This is a recording that bears listening over and over again for the pure pleasure of it.”
World Music Report
- Raul da Gama, 9/2018
“serious high energy virtuosic jazz by a truly driven and dedicated group”…”What is very clear is that these musicians are having a lot of fun”…”Gene Pritsker strikes again.”…”This is a very appealing album “
- New Music Bugg, 12/17
“…a fine tribute to Stravinsky's courage…mixes and remixes the original themes brilliantly…a nice surprise”
- Réjean Beaucage VOIR, 1/18
"Open up Your Ears and Get Some: A glorious result it truly is..... This is the best Sound Liberation product so far." "There is something for every kind of music enthusiast in this album. This is part of the Sound Liberation philosophy." "Nerve Crashes is an amazing tour-de-force of harmonic and rhythmic writing. Harmonically it explores new places in progression. Pritsker gets away with this and still has, essentially, a pop song. Likewise, the rhythms are unusual"
- Joseph Pehrson, The Music Connoisseur,Winter/Spring 2009
Kinetic music, drawing heavily on jazz and rock styles.
- Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times, July 2000
The prelude was loaded with pole-vaulting leaps between peals of mocking laughter. But it was that unbelievable Blues Fugue that made me want to fasten my seat belt. Wild! Essentially a Tragic Chaccone enabled me to recover, thanks to its contrastive mood, followed by an eclectic Postlude.
- Richard Clark, The Northern Light, Jan. 2005
Funny and fast, (the Music) required the soloists to switch from jazz to Beethoven, blues to bossanova, the Marseilles to improvisation with split-second timing
- Anemona Hartocollis, New York Newsday, Feb. 20th, 1995
- Vladimir Zak, New Russian Voice, April 1995
Pan(ic) displays a good deal of energy and is quite idiomatically written.
-Hubert Culot, musicweb.uk.net, July 2004
A vivid, Exciting piece (All I Want Now Is To Look At Life) it is one I want very much to hear again.
- Paul Somers, The Star Ledger, November 29, 1995
This is large audience music, and a lot of people would like it
- Joseph Pehrson, The Music Connoisseur, Summer 1999
Genes rap songs are clever, complex, and very interesting musically, exactly what the market stuff is not.
- Barry L. Cohen, The Music Connoisseur, Fall 2001
- "It is music of peace, a music unified in an unexpected and unprecedented way. It will not be for everyone. But those who are willing to leave preconceptions behind
will find a very stimulating program of music. Go on a different sort of trip with this one. You will find the ride both fun and musically rich."
- Grego Applegate Edwards, Gapplegate Classical - Modern Music Blog, Sept.. 2011
"This new recording is beautifulmusically and dramatically." "Delicate, taut, and incisive writing. Beautiful interplay between instruments and voices, between the rhythm/melodies/harmonies and the text. Synaptic guitar picking; a really elegant solo improvisation on Track 5." "I m uplifted by this new Pritsker CDimpressed by the authenticity of music that had to come out, had to be composed, had to exist." "T his opera by Gene Pritsker honors that Jamesian notion. The operaand this recordingare a welcome invitation to self-discovery, to mutual respect and tolerance for the spirituality (or lack thereof) of others, and to joyous, mindful living in community. Look for the CD when its released in February. Very worth your listening!"
- Doug McNair, Chamber Music Today, Jan. 2012\
"This genuine chamber opera is a ground breaking contribution to the operatic genre for the early '012s"
- Peter Woolf, Musical Pointers, jan. 2012
"This chamber opera performance has beautiful vocals. I like itYou definitely have to check out this recording."
- Peter Van Laarhoven, United-Mutations, Feb. 2012
"The stylistic range is broad and the synthesis effective""It is yet another convincing example of Gene Pritsker's originality and distinctiveness as a composer. It should interest and delight those who seek the "new" in new music. This is indeed new!"
- Grego Applegate Edwards, Gapplegate Classical - Modern Music Blog, Feb. 20112
"a truly intoxicating experience vivid libretto and a brilliant score, which challenges accepted norms of opera."
- Raul D'ama Rose, Allaboutjazz March 2012
"This opera presents a scene that's personal and yet familiar to the listener, with a dark-comedic edgeGene Pritskers 'William James Varieties of Religious Experience' is a truly eclectic contemporary chamber opera, that exudes various musical forms, without being overwhelming. Its cool as a cue ball, with the power of introspective drama through classical, and the down-to-earth non-conformity of the "Beat generation". So kick-back, open your mind and take a trip without the jet-lag."
- studiophoenix blogspot - March 2012
Review of the Berlin frozen Present concert at the 2019 Outreach Festival in Schwaz, Austria
"Pritsker seems outwardly sedentary, as a conductor and even more as a musical genius than anyone else. He boldly combined Bach's motifs with cool techno sounds, interpreted Franz von Suppé jazzig, Mendelssohn mixed with punk. Music age and aesthetics tumbled wildly together. Pritsker's "Berlin Suite" brought every (intellectual) wall to collapse. Even Schoenberg was significantly shaken - the old avant-gardist got hip hop beats administered. Only Kurt Weill's heartwarming "Oh, Heart of Love" from the Broadway opera "Johnny Johnson" allowed singer Chandra Rule to develop without any progressive insertions from the band."
- Samir H. Köck, Die Presse - 8/4/2019
“ …a talented collective of musicians performed at various European venues, and represents a stimulating sampler of Pritsker’s wide-ranging musical interests”
“Pritsker moves fluidly between jazz, rock, electronic and contemporary classical music. Eclectic Music eXtravaganza is a satisfying combination of intense artistic vision and first-rate performances.”
"Eclectic Music Extravaganza is everything the title suggests and is yet another solid collection from Gene Pritsker and his group of talented musicians.”
- Paul Muller, Sequenza 21 - 9/2018
“..the eclec-ticity is not so much a shocking thing as a familiar and reassuring sort of familiarity-in-difference. I do recommend you hear this by all mean. Gene Pritsker is a force! Bravo.”
- Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, 10/2018
"Messing around with Stravinsky's Rite of Spring is not a new thing. I don't think I've ever heard it done as well as this, though.” …" if you are interested ian cutting-edge, progressive rock or jazz, you really need to check this out.”…."Pritsker and his fellow musicians gleefully crash through borders and smash conventions in this performance. In world dominated by safe, carefully calculated music-making—calculated to make money, that is—this CD is refreshing. If it tweaks our collective noses, perhaps they deserve tweaking.
- Raymond Tuttle, Fanfare Magazine 7/18
"As music, which ultimately we, of course, evaluate anything new on the basis of, it hangs together remarkably well. Don't try to pin it down stylistically but let it take you where it may. If you do that you will find an enormously stimulating program. This is the sort of thing Gene has been working on for some time, and he has gotten extraordinarily adept at juggling the elements and making it all very cohesive and very musical. Brilliant!"
- Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review May 2013
"His expressive reach is so wide as to encompass everything from ethno/techno, rock/jazz fusion, classical opera and more, and it all seems to be effortlessly integrated within his anima and comes out through different facets of his persona. You could almost see him as a modern-day renaissance man. Most of the music on this new CD is fast-paced, frenetic, driven by nervous energy and always fleshing out details like an overclocked cpu. Traces of Fripp, Bruford, Weather Report, Bryars, Zappa, are vaguely present within the mesh of his music, but never copied, just simply evoked. And when Gene Pritsker comes up for air, slows down, and lets his expressive side take over, as in the slow movement of Electrically Tragic, truly evocative and moving music comes to the surface."
- Classical Music Sentinel, Jean-Yves Duperron - May 2013
"This is a unique fusion CD, with classical, cultural cello themes, mixed with contemporary guitar, echoing vocals, and electronic creativity. You will feel like you are in Istanbul one moment and the East Village, NY, the next. Borislav Strulev is a renowned jazz and classical cellist with Russian roots, and he brings exotic flair to this ensemble. "
- Roberta on the Arts, March 2013
"what is center stage is the barrage of cognitive dissonances—narrative drama vs. non-linear narrative, sacred vs. profane, contemporaneity vs. historicism. These go far beyond the music’s combination of idioms (think Zappa’s jazz/rock/postclassical stew mixed with contemporary opera and musical theatre as well as hybrids like Adams’s Ceiling/Sky). And that barrage now completely defines my listening experience."
- Frank J Oteri, New Music Box - Oct. 2012
"Sound Liberation display a level of multi-instrumental virtuosity and imagination that makes middleweight prog acts seem positively pedestrian by comparison. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea for sure but for the open-minded muso, there’s weeks and weeks of musical nourishment to feast upon in these thirteen tracks."
- Jodi Mullen, This is Not A Scene July 2012
"Dynamic momentum and variety…intimate listening experience"..."Frank Zappa's pop-influenced classical composing comes to mind, they essentially provide an active yet never over-busy backdrop for the text that predominates.
- Jed Distler, Gramophone June 2012
- Review of Noizepunk & BorisLove new CD 'Cello Lounge' on United Mutations "classical cello lines are superimposed on a laid-back lounge beat. The added samples, jazz guitar licks, and unearthly vocals spice it all up and make this an impressive mixture."
- All About Jazz Review of ''solo, duo, trio, quartet, quintet
- the chamber & electronic music of Gene Pritsker'
"Gene Pritsker is a remarkable contemporary composer. His short repertoire, represented on Solo-Duo-Trio-Quartet-Quintet: The Chamber and Electronic Music of Gene Pritsker(Composers Concordance Records, 2011) testifies to this fact. He has an acute sense of his own place in the history of music and this is marked by the contemporariness of his work,"
" he is a singular voice, who is long past experimenting with devices and forms, all of which melt away in his compositions that are usually eminently accessible.."
"Credit System of Truth, a composition worked around shifting measures of the quarter note, showing Pritsker at his dense best. The work plunges into the world of timbral values with absolute verity. Tonal color is also used here with a great deal of ingenuity and inspiration. "
"This album showcases some of Gene Pritsker's more memorable short works and forms"
Great review of my new CD ''solo, duo, trio, quartet, quintet - the chamber & electronic music of Gene Pritsker'
on Gapple Gate Blog
here are some quotes: "First he cannot be pegged..... second is that whatever he does, he does it with distinction."
"Those who know Gene P's music will not be disappointed in this one. Nor will those who favor the chamber mode of expression"
“ ...This disc presents Pritsker in multiple roles: composer, performer… I think you could add “mischief-maker” and “cultural blender-in-chief.” Pritsker is a serious artist, yet much of his work is witty and irreverent.”…”There's great musicianship here, and also great creativity. You might not like it all, but it is difficult to remain indifferent about it.”
- Raymond Tuttle, Fanfare Magazine, 9/2018
About Melodies Alone Can Proudly Carry Their Own Death – The Chamber Music of Gene Pritsker
- "Mr. Pritsker’s speaks with a new mature musical language, in which a sense of alienation and human frailty is never far from the surface"
- About Sound Liberation: Rite Through An Eclectic Spectrum
- "As always eight sections of this work are all pure-Pritsker in that you could not have predicted what you were going to hear until you actually heard i"
- "It is, by now, an aphorism that “You never know what the composer Gene Pritsker will create next”. His composes with chameleonic facility and like that fascinating creature whose every colorful incarnation is stunning, so too is the music of Gene Pritsker. However, unlike the improbable doppelgänger whose transformation is slow and statuesque, Mr. Pritsker seems able to make sudden changes in musical sensibility very quickly and seamlessly, often turning on a proverbial dime. Anyone forgetting how magnificently he can do so need only revisit Mr. Pritsker’s William James’s Varieties of Religious Experiences. Or as the case may now be: consider any one of these two records – Melodies Alone Can Proudly Carry Their Own Death and the more recent, live recording Rite Through An Eclectic Spectrum."
“A remarkable CD...Big sound with an impressive punch...impressive solos and a compelling dynamism…piercingly intense guitar solo…
intending to make music dangerous again.”
Paul H. Muller, Sequenza21, 1/18
Gene Pritsker's Unconventional Music
Composer combines classical, hip-hop and heavy metal sounds
By Chuin-Wei Yap
February 19, 2003
In one corner of composer Gene Pritsker's studio in his Manhattan apartment, nestled in a jumble of equipment and scores, stands a Fender Jimi Hendrix Voodoo Stratocaster guitar. It is an aficionado's instrument, and it takes a second look for a layman to understand its sly, seductive subversion."It's an upside-down Strat," Pritsker, 31, explained. "Jimi used to play a right-handed Strat, re-strung for a left-handed person. This is a left-handed-looking Strat made for a right-handed player."
Pritsker's music, like that guitar, is about groundbreaking hybrids. Imagine three bars of a Bach cantata twirling faintly behind a hip-hop grind or Motown grooves trailing into a Puccini aria. Then imagine the heavy metal Black Sabbath classic "Paranoid," scored for a full orchestra. This latest venture from Pritsker has won the collaboration of the Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra, which will deliver his composition as an encore at its American Lollapalooza festival Friday and Saturday.
Russian by origin, Pritsker labels himself a guitarist and rapper, but it is quickly apparent that these tags are a convenient concession. His appetite for marrying different sounds is insatiable. "Aesthetically, we should be able to appreciate music from any culture and genre," he said. "Stravinsky used jazz rhythms. Beethoven and Bach used drinking songs. Now it's all classical music. At that time, these were frat songs!"
The Brooklyn Philharmonic gig is far from Pritsker's debut. He's already had premieres of his compositions at Carnegie Hall and Athens Hall in Greece, as well as Sweden and Argentina. He plays in Manhattan clubs, like the Knitting Factory and Downtime, and has just completed a Canadian tour. But Pritsker never had it easy pushing his brand of music. He studied composition as an undergraduate at the Manhattan School of Music. The jazz and classical establishment there, locked in conservatism, had initially looked askance at Pritsker's work. One professor stormed out of a concert Pritsker held, and he was refused enrollment in the school's master's program. But Pritsker has his share of supporters at the school. "He's very gifted," said Giampaolo Bracali, a professor of classical composition there. "He was always a hard worker and very experimental. Those were the formative years."
Pritsker's music is not designed for easy listening or to melt into the background. It is insistent. It demands attention and curiosity. And it pays careful homage to the international roots it borrows from, down to the 12/8 African beats that he used for one piano and drum score.
Those more keenly attuned to new sounds recognize Pritsker's worth. "It's wicked, street-influenced New York, ahead of its time," said Kristjan Jarvi, conductor of the American Lollapalooza performance. "I'll approach performing Gene's arrangement like he does arranging it - as horror metal music, with an awesome groove."
Pritsker is no stranger to fording tough cultural boundaries. He grew up in a project in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. Then more than now, it was a quiltwork of gangs, Italians, Asians, Russians and blacks, among others. The high school he attended made the headlines for shoot- outs. "I know people who got shot. I got jumped a couple of times," he said. "You grow up with this, it makes you stronger. It makes you see the darker side of life, and if you're smart, you don't stick to it, you see beyond it."
His father, a jazz saxophonist, and his mother, a pianist, escaped to the United States from the Soviet Union in 1978. In those difficult days, both parents struggled to land well-paying jobs in New York. His father became a piano tuner, while his mother took a succession of odd jobs.
Pritsker speaks of his parents with pride, letting on that his father now plays in a big band comprising fellow Russian musician immigrants who gave up their first loves for non-musical jobs. The Pritskers got their son on the violin when he was 4. But by 12, he'd switched to the guitar, "because I wanted to play metal." By 17, he had figured out how to write his own music and was immersed in a heady froth of jazz, classical music, pop and rap.
His parents' support carried Pritsker to the corridors of Manhattan's uptown conservatory. But the man remains a Brooklyn thoroughbred. "Brooklyn was my childhood," he said. "It's where I got my skills. It's an important part of my life."
An avid reader who can have six books - from Descartes to Dickens to Buddhist texts - going at once, Pritsker often allows literature and philosophy to sneak into his work. One composition, "Cancer Ward," takes its title from Soviet dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn's novel of the same name. The song's motif threads through a kaleidoscope of drumbeats, symbolizing cancer in Solzhenitsyn's protagonist.
Today, Pritsker's output is prodigious, with more than 230 compositions under his belt. The musical styles on each new song shift as quickly as Pritsker can absorb new influences. "I'm a big filter," said Pritsker. "My whole thing is about anti-labeling. I just don't want people to say that my music sounds like something else."
Copyright (c) 2003, Newsday, Inc.
Article in a newspaper in Kazan:
Gene Pritsker's Serenade for Clarinet and String Quartet, performed at the Festival "Europe-Asia 2005" by the Lumina String Quartet and clarinetist Philip Bashor is a serious composition where the expressive idiomatic clarinet line is a part of an alive, flowing stream of sound. This line is clearly distinguished on the canvas of the composition. Also impressive is a successful realization of form, which is not necessarily the case with some other composers, who while announcing a certain structure give us in fact something entirely different. Pritsker's music has one immediately distinctive feature, particularly for a European ear: its musical language is peculiarly American. First of all the energy, density of texture, rhythmic variety and drive, constant tonal harmonic and enharmonic exchanges, sometimes with great frequencies. Excluded are conventional ways of developing, instead, it is an unending flow of changes of melodic and polyphonic elements. Pritsker's fantasy is unending and all these various elements are logical and convincing. Even when the elements seem unrelated, still one almost immediately can see strong connection. Gene Pritsker managed to create a well-proportioned dynamic composition that strongly represents the American school.
- Writer and composer Oleg Lubivetz, Kazan
Article in The Music Connoisseur:
Composer/performer Gene Pritskers Poetic Subjects Eternal II for ensemble, presented at New York University's Frederick Loewe Theatre, off Washington Square, in New York City, on May 29, 2003, represents serious important work, employing the vernacular of our times, and fusing the best of that idiom with classical elements. What Pritsker is doing is using the technique of rap as a dynamic element of artistic creation. Performed by members of Mr. Pritskers eclectic hip-hop band: Sound Liberation, the series of poetic sound pieces were refreshing, exciting, in-your-face real, and the music tracks were like nothing this reviewer has ever heard before (totally fascinating) and, clearly, superior to and occupying a different level than what is commonly heard in rap genre pieces as one walks the streets of the city, rides its subways, or just tries to get some sleep as a boombox with wheels passes by ones bedroom window late at night.
-John de Clef Piñeiro, The Music Connoisseur
Interview in the online site Musical Klondike as part of the Borislav Strulev & friend series.
GENE PRITSKER: “THE COMPOSER SHOULD DISCOVER ALL THE POSSIBILITIES OF SOUND”
Review of The Gene Pritsker Trio at Cafe Museum in Passau, Germany
“Gene Pritsker is a huge musical joker, a magician. Here, a sleepwalker juggles sounds, effects, notes, and electronics, creatively creating and creating with the intensity and joy of children immersed in the game”
- Christine Pierach, PNP.de - 2/26/2019
Review of 'Babylon Style concert in Friedberg, Germany as part of the Outreach Sattelite Festival
"He is an artist who knows no taboos and genres...unbelievable composer, conductor, rapper, arranger, guitarist, of course, an exciting jazzman...For concert purposes, Gene Pritsker has created a "Berlin Suite", which he performed brilliantly as a conductor...Pritsker, who has a precise classical stroke technique, is more than a conductor. How he almost pantomime, even with a berserker dance choreography, the jazzy arranged passages, the solistic theme deliveries, the instrumental pairings, radiating a aufheizende scale of joyous-casual coolness and explosiveness, transmitted to the fantastic musicians. The mixture of swinging euphoria, touching salon-gigolo-impressions, naïvely sober matter-of-fact atmosphere à la Kurt Weill, dreary Moritatenton and dancing Charleston jerks was well received by the audience. Likewise his own groove and swing jewels independent of "Babylon Berlin". Gene Pritsker in Friedberg - that suited."