National Sawdust Board
JEAN PIERRE CHESSE, President Emeritus
RICK D’AVINO, Vice President
KEVIN DOLAN, Co-founder and Chair
ELIZABETH MADIGAN JOST
Artistic Advisory Board
ANDREW H. BART
Artistic Advisory Council
CHRIS GRYMES, Chair
ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO
Founding Board Members/Philanthropic Investors
Kevin Dolan – Founder and Chair
Kevin Dolan founded National Sawdust, then known as Original Music Workshop, in 2010. His commitment to National Sawdust continues a lifetime of engagement with music and musical institutions. As Rick D’Avino, National Sawdust Vice-President, has often remarked, Kevin is “the Andrew Carnegie for emerging artists … but without the deep pockets” Kevin believes that music is part of a person’s DNA and, for some, it’s “almost a salvation.” His bedrock principle in founding National Sawdust is “to help the musician and composer community, particularly the younger folks. If you support them, you support the art form.”
After taking piano lessons as a child, Kevin began the study of the classical organ at around age 14 and continued his study during college and graduate school years while pursuing non-music academics. Kevin has served as the organist at a variety of churches, including the St. Mary Student Parish in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and the Beverly Hills United Methodist Church in Alexandria, VA. For more than a decade, he was a volunteer organist at St. Dominic’s Catholic Church in southwest Washington, DC, near the U.S. Capitol, where he funded the restoration of the church’s 1887 Roosevelt pipe organ.
In recent years, Kevin has been active as a composer under the tutelage of Kirk Nurock, former Professor at the Hochschule der Künste in Berlin and currently a member of the faculty of the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York. Kevin includes among his influences, Bach, Debussy, Barber, and Bill Evans.
Kevin is a former member of the board of Wintergreen Performing Arts, which presents a classical summer music program in the mountains near Charlottesville, Virginia. With other key Wintergreen board members, Kevin was responsible for moving the organization toward professional leadership by recruiting composer and conductor Larry Alan Smith, former President of the School of American Ballet and former Dean of the Hartt School, as the Executive and Artistic Director. Kevin has also provided support to select musical artists and projects over the years, including sponsorship of performances and recordings by pianist Norman Kreiger and by Kirk Nurock.
When not overseeing National Sawdust, Kevin is Of Counsel in Sherman & Sterling’s Tax Group. Prior to joining Sherman & Sterling, Kevin was Senior Vice President, Tax Policy and Product Development, for Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. Before joining Merrill Lynch, Kevin was Tax Partner at Weil, Gotshal & Manges. He was earlier Associate Chief Counsel (Technical & International) for the IRS, and on the staffs of the Office of International Tax Counsel at the Treasury Department, the Legislation and Regulations Division of the IRS Chief Counsel’s Office, and the Division of Market Regulation at the SEC. Kevin is a co-author of a two-volume tax treatise on international transactions.
Jill Steinberg, President
Jill Steinberg is a Founding Board Member who has been supporter of OMW@National Sawdust since its launch in 2012. She has been integrally involved in its development and is a philanthropic investor in its facility. Jill is a live-performance photographer and has documented VisionIntoArt’s biennial 21c Liederabend co-productions at Galapagos Art Space, The Kitchen, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music, in addition to VIA’s annual FERUS Festival, and VIA productions at The Kennedy Center, Krannert Center, Park Avenue Armory, Bay Chamber Music Festival, Juilliard’s Innovative Arts Dept. with their Beyond the Machine concerts, the Barbican Centre, BEMUS in Serbia, Teatro Manzoni in Milan, and Etnafest in Sicily. Since 2012 she has photographed National Sawdust’s In Situ concerts as its building has undergone a transformation from a sawdust factory to a state-of-the-art performance space, as well as the Ex Situ concerts at The Greene Space and as part of the River to River festival. She also works with Beth Morrison Projects, Family Opera Initiative/ARDEA Arts, Heartbeat Opera, Sister Sylvester, and the terraNOVA Collective and has been published in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Time Out New York, Time Out Amsterdam, BOMB and Music Listening Today, among others. As a photographer, Steinberg has a unique perspective on the behind-the-scenes workings of small and emerging performing arts companies and their artists. Jill Steinberg is the board chair of VisionIntoArt (VIA), a nonprofit new music and interdisciplinary arts production company, a Strategic Committee member of PROTOTYPE – OPERA/THEATRE/NOW, Professional Company Member of OPERA America, and a member of OPERA America’s board. She and her husband, William Steinberg, are founding donors to the National Opera Center. In these various capacities, Jill is a champion of both artists and their art.
Rick D’Avino, Vice President
Rick is the Chair of PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Insourced Solutions for Tax group. He also works with the Vice Chairs of PwC’s global tax team, with PwC’s tax policy operation in Washington, D.C. and on mentoring and developing PwC’s leading tax partners and working with large clients.
Rick is currently teaching Corporate Taxation at Columbia University Law School and is a Lecturer in Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he has taught Tax 1, Tax Policy and Mergers & Acquisitions.
Prior to joining PwC, Rick was with GE from 1991 through 2013, as Vice President and Senior Tax Counsel at GE Capital until 2005 and subsequently as Vice President and Senior Tax Counsel at General Electric Company. Rick was responsible for all aspects of taxation for GE Capital and, after 2005, for GE Corporate and for GE’s interest in NBC Universal as well. Rick also served on the Boards of Directors of GE Capital Corporation and GE Capital Services from 2009 to 2012, and of GE SeaCo, a joint venture between GE and Sea Containers Ltd., from 1996 to 2011.
Rick began his career clerking for Judge Alvin B. Rubin on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, after which he was an associate at Cohen & Uretz in Washington, D.C. Rick then served as an Attorney-Advisor and the Deputy Tax Legislative Counsel in the U.S. Treasury Department from 1983-1987. Rick was a tax partner at King & Spalding in Washington, D.C. from 1987-1991.
Rick has been a member of the Internal Revenue Service Advisory Council, the Executive Committee of the New York State Bar Association Tax Section, and the Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania Bars. Rick serves on the Penn Law Board of Overseers, was President of the Penn Law Alumni Board of Managers from 2010-2013, and recently completed two terms on the Board of Trustees at Pitzer College.
In addition to serving as President of National Sawdust, Rick has been on the Board of Directors of DOMUS Kids, a Connecticut child educational and welfare organization, since 1994 and became its Vice Chair in 2012.
The Zimbabwean born gallerist Valerie Dillon, a founding board member, came to the United States in 1983 to finish her studies in piano performance at the American University. She relocated to New York City in 1991 to specialize in 20th century master graphics. In 1994, Dillon established Dillon Gallery in Soho with a concentration in contemporary Japanese Nihonga painters. Dillon Gallery relocated to Chelsea occupied a 5,000 square foot converted 19th century warehouse on 25th street for ten years. It was there that Dillon began shifting her focus from primarily visual artists to her exploration of multimedia disciplines not usually associated with a traditional art gallery. In 2006 the gallery presented “Painted Music” a series combining technology with painting and music. This shift gave rise to the current group of artists represented by the gallery. Dillon Gallery is a pioneer in the art of scent with its ground breaking solo exhibition by Christophe Laudamiel dedicated exclusively to scent. Dillon’s early interest in the performing arts continued with many parallel presentations of art, music, and interactive exhibitions. Dillon Gallery has committed to sponsoring and championing collaborative performance pieces and interactive exhibitions dealing with the intersection of the visual arts and performing arts. Valerie Dillon is a pioneer in the contemporary gallery model, and acknowledges that tradition paradigms no longer suit the cross disciplinarian interest of contemporary artists. Dillon + Lee recently rebranded as a contemporary, cross-disciplinary art gallery. Through artist representation, exhibitions, and collaboration, Dillon + Lee is most noted for supporting artists working outside the Western canon and disciplines not often associated with traditional art galleries such as architecture, design, music, scent, and theater.
Jean-Pierre Chessé, Président Emeritus
Jean-Pierre Chessé, a Founding Board Member, brings a unique international perspective and entrepreneurial experience to National Sawdust. The 45-year old Frenchman moved to China 20 years ago where he founded and operated an ultimately successful business in a very challenging environment. He recently sold his business and moved to New York City to be a full time parent. Applying his professional expertise to new enterprises, Jean-Pierre is now fully committed to financing and actively supporting projects that can bring positive change to both commercial and charitable activities and enterprises in sustainable ways. Such so-called “impact investments” are intended to help brilliant, courageous, and creative individuals who have novel ideas to influence how things work. Among other endeavors, JP is an “angel” investor in various start-ups, including one committed to reducing food waste and another that allows users to make donations to charitable organizations by simply watching ads online. National Sawdust was the perfect performing arts project for Jean-Pierre with a new model combining a state-of-the-art music venue and an efficient non-profit organization with a beautiful mission to support composers and musicians of all genres. More fundamentally, Jean-Pierre believes that NS can definitively impact the way music venues come into being, grow, and become sustainable. He was immediately impressed by Kevin’s vision and Paola’s artistic expertise and breadth and was happy to bring his financial and personal support to the project. Jean-Pierre became a principal philanthropic investor in OMW’s facility at a critical juncture that permitted the interior build-out of the facility to move forward. Jean-Pierre’s favorite quote, which he says aptly describes his own experience, is, “The fools didn’t know it was impossible, so they did it!”
Harvey Mogenson grew up in Wisconsin and attended the University of Wisconsin—Madison for an Accounting/Finance degree. After graduation, he joined the staff of Ernst & Young, where he would work for twenty years, including ten as an International Tax Parner. After transferring from Milwaukee to New York in 1982, Mogenson met National Sawdust Founder and Chair Kevin Dolan. Mogenson has worked across continents, from Brussels to Washington DC and now New York, and institutions, including Ernst & Young and Morgan Stanley. Mogenson was Managing Director and Global Head of Tax at Morgan Stanley until his retirement in 2015. When Dolan embarked on the creation of National Sawdust — the Original Music Workshop at the time — Mogenson vowed to support his friend however he could. Mogenson may not have a formal musical background, but he enjoys a good performance and admires Dolan’s vision and passion.