The Contemplations trailer features interviews with Renée Fleming, Beth Morrison, Nico Muhly, Nadia Sirota, Du Yun, Laura Ortman, Anthony Roth Costanzo, Ellen Reid, Helga Davis, Daniel Bernard Roumain, Joan Tower, Tania León, Terry Riley, and Damian Woetzel with artwork by Natalie Frank and Erin Pollock.
Thanks to the Alphadyne Foundation and the National Sawdust Board, your gift in honor of Contemplations from National Sawdust will be matched dollar for dollar up to $300,000 if made between May 19 and June 30!
Contemplations from National Sawdust is a six-episode retrospective series releasing this summer on The WNET Group/ALL ARTS television and digital platforms, celebrating our innovative programming and music discovery since inception. The series launches with a look to the future–21c Liederabend, op. Worldwide–co-curated by Paola Prestini and Beth Morrison featuring all new commissions, and continues with five episodes curated by Prestini featuring performances and talks including Du Yun, Renée Fleming, Philip Glass, Tania León, Helga Davis, Daniel Bernard Romain, and more.
Learn more at an open house with Composer Paola Prestini, Co-Founder and Artistic Director and Brian Berkopec, Managing Director on Zoom on
Thursday, June 3 from 12:30-1:30pm.
RSVP to email@example.com or (646) 779-8449.
$999 and below, Trailblazers
$1,000 – $4,999, Innovators
$5,000 – $9,999, Creators
$10,000 – 24,999, Pioneers
$25,000 +, Disruptors
We are grateful for early campaign leadership support from The Alphadyne Foundation, Meyer Sound, Jill and Bill Steinberg, Rick D’Avino and Pamela J. Murphy, Kris Sebastian and Alberto Cribiore, Kevin Dolan, Lynn A. Calpeter, Joan and Peter Faber, Elizabeth Madigan Jost, David Stein, Sally and Dan Breen, Mimi and Steve Houston, Harvey Mogenson, Peter Zuspan, Fabien Moreau, Andrew H. Bart, and Jenner & Block.
This 6 episode series will celebrate NS since its inception with “best of” curations by Paola Prestini and in depth interviews by Paola with artistic leaders and luminaries on following different themes:
21c Liederabend Op. Worldwide: interview with Renée Fleming and Beth Morrison
Music by 6 international composers celebrating song form in a visual sphere.
Featuring works by Holland Andrews, Amyra León, Lido Pimienta, Theodosia Roussos, Diana Syrse, and a collaboration between Paola Prestini with mezzo-soprano Eve Gigliotti and painter Natalie Frank in a short film by animator Erin Pollock.
Beginnings: interview with Nico Muhly, Nadia Sirota and Theo Bleckmann
See how National Sawdust came to fruition, through music and interviews with the minds and community that brought it together. The beginning of Sawdust began in many ways before we opened our doors. It began with a conversation between me and Kevin Dolan on the aspirations for our home, and what we could add to the NYC musical ecosystem. It was a DNA built on giving opportunity, on incubation to dissemination, and on the power of great sound.
Including music by Philip Glass, Tanya Tagaq, Theo Bleckmann, Paola Prestini, Nadia Sirota, Nico Muhly, Chris Thile
Origins: interview with Du Yun, Laura Ortman and Anthony Roth Costanzo
For this season we took a deep dive into the roots of culture itself through the music of our varied histories interpreted by artists we loved. What did that look like? It was Du Yun’s Pan Asia Sounding festival, Tanya Tagaq’s amazing Winterreise concert and her curations including Laura Ortman, Lithuanian Abraham Brody’s vocal and violin explorations, Ghanian artist JOJO ABOT in a interdisciplinary spiritual dance/film set, and British pop diva Bishi, with her vocalizing and sitar playing exploring what it meant to be a good immigrant. A direct response to the fear-driven currency exchanged in the media landscape, Origins was an insistent return to empathy, celebrating the multicultural and the borderless through music.
Including music by Du Yun’s band OK Miss, Sophia Brous Lullaby Project, Abraham Brody, Jojo Abot; Laura Ortman, and performances by Anthony Roth Costanzo.
Today’s Lens: interview with Ellen Reid, Helga Davis, and Daniel Bernard Roumain
Uncover the mission of Sawdust and its activist DNA through the words and performances. of some of the leading thinkers and artists that form the NS community. Activism was laced into the plan and structure of Sawdust; it’s in its DNA. From focusing on mentorship, to rethinking gatekeeping by an ever evolving group of curators, the mission is an evolving breathing entity that responds to changes quickly because of its scrappy and modular reality.
Including music by Samora Pinderhughes, Ellen Reid performed by Young People’s Chorus of NYC, Helga Davis with Reggie Reg Roc Gray performing “Requiem for a Tuesday”, Caroline Shaw, Yuka Honda, J. Hoard, Daniel Bernard Roumain, and more.
Leading Voices: interview with Chris Grymes, Joan Tower, Tania Leon and Terry Riley
Witness the brilliance of many geniuses that have passed through our hall over the last 5 years. One of the hopes with Sawdust was to portray through great curation that all this great music exists within the commonalities of deep conceptual thinking, craft and flow. Why apply false hierarchies or limit greatness to one thing? Why not shine light on the commonalities rather than the differences? And how do we make up for the lost art and the lost time due to the very eurocentric lens that exists in our presenting worlds?
Including music by Joan Tower, Tania León, Terry Riley performed by the Choir of Trinity Wall Street, and NOVUS NY, George Crumb, Tazwell Thompson and Jeanine Tesori’s Blue, John Zorn, Nels Cline and Julian Lage, and Ryuichi Sakamoto and more.
Digital Discovery: interview with Damian Woetzel
We entered March 2020 and like most organizations, had to do a sharp turn. Now looking back, we think of our activities post March as urgent care. How could we pay artists and train them to be able to work and express themselves from home? We sent recording packages, trained artists how to record from home, and created a digital discovery festival where over 100 artists were commissioned. Once we hit December and zoom fatigue hit, the question became what does it mean to expand digital form? How could we imagine the digital stage theater as improvisation-how could we combine all aspects to create a hybrid form?
National Sawdust’s 2021 Season 6, BODY / SPACE, was about returning to touch, and a focus on the body, celebrating creative and intellectual innovation, and reinventing performance for the virtual stage. We focused on the body as a site of expression and social change, questioning race, gender, disability, community, and AI.
Including highlights from NS digital stage from Kyle Abraham, Delune, Joel Ross, Conrad Tao, Molly Joyce, Amy Hall Garner, and more + interviews with Jeffrey Zeigler and Allison Loggins-Hull.
National Sawdust curates and produces innovative and transformative music and artistic collaborations presented through our digital stage and state-of-the-art Williamsburg venue.
The National Sawdust mission is rooted in cultivating an ecosystem of mentorship, incubation, and dissemination rooted in open and inclusive music and artistic curiosity–driven by the belief that artistic expression empowers us all to create a more just and joyful world.
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80 North 6th St
Brooklyn, NY 11249
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