at the corner of Wythe Ave and North 6th Street in Williamsburg...

National Sawdust

The non-profit National Sawdust, formerly known as Original Music Workshop, is pleased to announce that its highly anticipated, state-of-the-art, Williamsburg, Brooklyn venue will open this fall. Adopting the name of the factory once housed within the century-old building's shell, the $16 million, 13,000-square-foot space will welcome the public for an inaugural season beginning in October. National Sawdust also revealed today the diversity of world-class artists and composers who are working with the venue's Creative and Executive Director, composer Paola Prestini, to curate the space, and announced the inaugural season's artists- and groups-in-residence and partners. Programming and dates will be announced this summer, with tickets on sale in July.

In a city teeming with venues, National Sawdust, located at North 6th Street and Wythe Avenue in the heart of Williamsburg, is founded upon a singular, expansive vision: to provide composers and musicians across genres with a setting in which they can flourish, and a place where they are given commissioning support, mentoring and other critical resources essential to create, and then share, their work. It will be a resource not only for the community of musicians, but also for audiences in search of remarkable musical experiences--serious fans and casual listeners alike--at accessible ticket prices. National Sawdust will also offer progressive public programs and educational initiatives.

Designed by Brooklyn-based studio Bureau V, with acoustic design by Arup, National Sawdust is housed within the preserved shell of a century-old, two-story building. The intimate concert venue combines the crafted sensibility of an historic European concert hall with the flexibility of a contemporary, dynamic performance space.

Paola Prestini said, "It's a dream come true, and a rare opportunity, for me to lead a place like National Sawdust as a young composer. I am excited to be in turn creating a venue curated by--and focused on providing vital mentoring, space and support to--so many other still-nascent artists. I look forward to sharing the thrill of their creations and discoveries with audiences."

As the press release quoted above points out, new nonprofit Brooklyn venue National Sawdust will open October 1 on the corner of Wythe Ave and North 6th Street in Williamsburg.

In addition to Paola Prestini, curators at the venue include The National's Bryce Dessner, contemporary composer Nico Muhly, cellist Jeffrey Zeigler, Baby's All Right/Elvis Guesthouse's Billy Jones, and more. Artists/groups in residence will include Wilco's Glenn Kotche, the ACME ensemble, indie bands Givers and Hessismore, and more. Other partners include American Composers Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, and Pitchfork's Brandon Stosuy who will present and co-curate concerts at the venue too.

More curators, artists in residence and partners are listed, via the press release, below...



Artists will lead National Sawdust, in addition to benefitting from it. Prestini, whom The New York Times has described as a "human resources alchemist" with a "gift for bringing together disparate artists, technicians and other creative professionals," has assembled a wide range of composers, musicians, vocalists, multimedia artists and others to serve as curators. In keeping with National Sawdust's emphasis upon fostering new talent and sharing it with audiences, curators will bring promising emerging artists to the venue.

Among those working alongside Prestini to program the space will be:

* New music composers and musicians including Andy Akiho (composer, percussionist), Anna Clyne (composer), Miranda Cuckson (violinist), Simone Dinnerstein (pianist), Tim Fain (violinist), Daniel Felsenfeld (composer), Kai Kight (composer, violinist, entrepreneur), David Krakauer (clarinetist), Lukas Ligeti (composer, percussionist), Alex Lipowski (percussionist), David T. Little (composer), Anne-Marie McDermott (pianist), Nico Muhly (composer, pianist), Ian Rosenbaum(percussionist), Jeffrey Zeigler (cellist)

* Vocalists Ryland Angel (countertenor), Theo Bleckmann (singer, composer), Anthony Roth Costanzo (countertenor), Helga Davis (vocalist and improviser) and Martha Redbone (soul singer)

* Multimedia artists and innovators such Julian Crouch (director, designer), with Saskia Lane (composer, singer, multi-instrumentalist); R. Luke Dubois (composer and electronic musician); Rinde Eckert (writer, composer, librettist, musician, performer, director); Mark Stewart (multi-instrumentalist, instrument-maker); Reggie "Regg Roc" Gray (Flexn choreographer); and Bora Yoon (composer, multi-instrumentalist, sound artist)

* International artists including Ljova (Russian violist) and Magos Herrera (Mexican jazz singer)

* Rock and pop music tastemakers such as Bryce Dessner (composer, guitarist of The National), Billy Jones (music director and proprietor of Baby's All Right), and Imogene Strauss (arts curator and co-founder of Cool Managers)


Artists- and Groups-in-Residence

Residencies will play an important role in the life of the venue, with numerous artists and groups using it for the development, performance and recording of new work. As part of its residency program, National Sawdust will also offer its full system of support--including mentoring in entrepreneurship, design, marketing and other areas of expertise--to ensure successful careers in the arts.

Inaugural season groups-in-residence will include:

* Rising talents including Norwegian youth string ensemble 1B1, new music ensemble Hotel Elefant and Zimbabwean singer-songwriter Netsayi

* Veterans of the New York new music scene, including the ensemble ACME, indie opera and new music commissioning and producing company Beth Morrison Projects, string quartet Brooklyn Rider, and New Amsterdam

* Practitioners of new media, including radio show hosts and DJs Chances with Wolves and audio/visual production company and creative collective Mason Jar Music

* Music-based community engagement project Found Sound Nation

* Indie pop band Givers and art-music collective Hessismore
Artists-in-residence will include Trinidadian poet Roger Bonair Agard, composer and percussionist Glenn Kotche (Wilco), mezzo-soprano Alicia Hall Moran (Porgy and Bess) and composer Gity Razaz,

Partner Companies, Organizations and Institutions

Prestini and her team have forged relationships with companies, organizations and festivals to foster the development of new works and innovative programs. These collaborations include:

* Mentorship and education programs by organizations including 2x4, which will offer design mentorship to resident artists and groups; Carnegie Hall's Weill Music Institute, which will co-present collaborations developed in the Institute's education program; Williamsburg-based El Puente Center for Arts and Culture, Brooklyn's leading Latino arts center, which will co-present unique arts education programs; the crowd-funding company Kickstarter, whose music curator will bring guidance to National Sawdust's Next Steps mentoring program; and Stanford University, which will bring interns to National Sawdust for mentoring in entrepreneurship

* Development programs with arts organizations including Zimbabwe's Harare International Festival of the Arts, whose artists National Sawdust will bring to New York for performances; MASS MoCA, whose resident artists will come to the venue to further develop and perform new work; and VisionIntoArt, the non-profit new music and interdisciplinary production company founded by Prestini in 1999, which will commission, develop and present new work

* Arts presenters including American Composers Orchestra (ACO), which will co-present concerts as part of its citywide new music festival, SONiC; the New York Philharmonic, which will co-present concerts in the orchestra's new music series CONTACT!; and Trinity Choir, which will develop Prestini's Hubble Cantata and a new live-scoring of the Academy Award-winning Italian film The Great Beauty

* Partnerships with publications and digital media platforms including the louderARTS Project, which will co-present poetry and music events; McNally Jackson Books, which will co-present a series of readings with music; the contemporary classical label Open G Records, whose artists will perform at the venue; Pitchfork, whose editor, Brandon Stosuy, will curate concerts; and Q2 Music, which will host and broadcast concerts

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