“National Sawdust is a home for curious artists and listeners, and in our inaugural season, we are offering a vast range of new music created and discovered by our curators. Our hope is to create an inclusive home where artists and audiences can learn, explore and listen creatively. I want to give other composers and artists the kinds of opportunities that would have helped me when I was in my 20s. I believe that by giving artists the reins to program the space and by lending support to their projects in the early phases of development we will make a unique contribution to New York City’s musical ecosystem.”
Paola Prestini is “the enterprising composer and impresario” (New York Times) whose interdisciplinary vision is helping to shape the future of new music. Named one of Musical America’s “Top 30 Musical Innovators 2016″ and one of the “Top 35 Female Composers in Classical Music” (Washington Post), her music has been commissioned by and been performed at Carnegie Hall, the Chicago Symphony (Music Now), the New York Philharmonic (Biennale), The Los Angeles Philharmonic (Green Umbrella Series) New York City Opera (VOX), the Morgan Library/The Juilliard School, the American Composers Orchestra, and the Kronos Quartet. Her compositions have been performed worldwide, from the Kennedy Center, BAM, and the Park Avenue Armory, to London’s Barbican Centre. She has collaborated with Beth Morrison Projects, Brooklyn Rider, the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Choir of Trinity Wall Street, the Attacca Quartet, the Young People’s Chorus, vocalists such as Christopher Burchett, Anthony Roth Costanzo, Nathan Gunn, Jessica Rivera, Hila Plitmann, Rinde Eckert and Helga Davis, librettists Cerise Jacobs, Donna Di Novelli, Mark Campbell and Royce Vavrek, conductor Julian Wachner, performers such as Maya Beiser, Tim Fain, Ian Rosenbaum and Jeffrey Zeigler, and directors such as Michael Counts, Julian Crouch, and Robert Wilson.
Prestini is the founding CEO and Artistic Director of National Sawdust, a nonprofit Brooklyn-based space for arts incubation, performance, and recording, and served as “visionary-in-chief” (Time Out New York) of VisionIntoArt, the non-profit multimedia production company she co-founded as a student in 1999 which has now merged with National Sawdust. VIA is the sustaining force behind more than one hundred original productions to date. Prestini recently presided over the launch of VIA Records, hailed as “an essential new voice in the future of American classical music” (Q2 Music), now relaunched as the National Sawdust Label.
Incorporating powerful visual and dramatic components, Prestini’s multimedia creations address such extra-musical issues as conservation, astrophysics, and politics. She works frequently with Creative Producer Beth Morrison to create large scale multimedia works that include the opera epic Gilgamesh, for Arts Emerson at the Cutler Majestic; the Labyrinth Installation Concertos performed at the Isabella Gardner Museum and commissioned by the Krannert Center; The Hubble Cantata commissioned by Bay Chamber Concerts and VisionIntoArt/NS, with virtual reality by Eliza Mcnitt and narrations by astrophysicist Mario Livio performed at Bric’s Celebrate Brooklyn to an audience of +6,000, the Kennedy Center and LA’s Ford Theater; Aging Magician with performer/librettist Rinde Eckert, director/designer Julian Crouch, instrument inventor Mark Stewart and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, commissioned by the Walker Art Center and Krannert Center with performances at ASU Gammage and the New Victory Theater. Other projects include Epiphany for the Young People’s Chorus, performed at BAM’s 2015 Next Wave Festival; The Colorado, Murat Eyuboglu’s eco/film cantata developed at MASS MoCA for Roomful of Teeth, Glenn Kotche, and Jeffrey Zeigler, (performed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Houston’s Da Camera series, Stanford Live and the Kennedy Center); The Hotel That Time Forgot, for orchestra and video artist premiered at Carnegie Hall with the American Composers Orchestra; We Breathe Again, a film score to be released soon on PBS with a stellar group including Nels Cline, Jeffrey Zeigler, Cornelius Dufallo, David Cossin, and Tanya Tagaq; and The Imaginary World of Wild Order for the Mass Re-Imaginings Projects commissioned by Choir of Trinity Wall Street with text by Brenda Shaughnessy.
Large scale works in development include music for the next installation of Murat Eyuboglu’s River project, next focused on the Amazon, and several operas in different scales, and different phases of completion: Two Oars, a new grand opera with Robert Wilson to workshop next at Zagreb Opera and in development at the Watermill Center, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, an inter-generational grand opera for Minnesota Opera with Mark Campbell and Eric Simonson, Film Stills, a new chamber opera series (Nico Muhly and Missy Mazzoli are the other composers) with RB Schlather, Eve Gigliotti and Royce Vavrek, and Silent Light, a new chamber opera with Thaddeus Strassberger and Royce Vavrek based on the famed Carlos Reygadas film.
Prestini’s honors include two ASCAP awards, a fellowship from Paul & Daisy Soros, and the Sundance Institute. She has been granted residencies at MASS MoCA, The Park Avenue Armory, The Watermill Center, Florida’s Hermitage Artist Retreat, Wyoming’s Ucross Foundation, and LMCC Governor’s Island. Passionate about education, she has taught at inner city schools in New York, with the New York Philharmonic and Carnegie Hall, with El Sistema in Venezuela, and at institutions and in the field in Italy, Africa, and Mexico.
Paola Prestini’s music is released on VIA Records, Innova, and Tzadik Records; her writing is published in the Arcana series by Hips Road, and she is the editor of the New York Philharmonic’s Very Young Composer handbook. A graduate of the Juilliard School, she studied under Samuel Adler, Robert Beaser, and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies.
Photo by Brigitte Lacombe
Named one of Musical America’s “Top 30 Musical Innovators 2016″ and one of the “Top 35 Female Composers in Classical Music” (The Washington Post), Prestini’s music has been commissioned by and been performed at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, BAM, and the Barbican Centre, by groups such as Brooklyn Rider, Attacca Quartet, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, The New York Philharmonic, and Choir of Trinity Wall Street, among others. She is the founding CEO and Artistic Director of National Sawdust (NS), a nonprofit Brooklyn-based space for arts incubation and performance, and the “visionary-in-chief” (Time Out New York) of VisionIntoArt, the multimedia production company she co-founded in 1999, now merged with National Sawdust.