May 10, 2022

New York Times

“This small but crafty performing arts center forms a nexus in Williamsburg between experimental jazz and electronic music, contemporary classical and dance.”

April 6, 2022

National Sawdust presents The Future Is… Festival and Creative Forum

March 18, 2022


“Arguably the only NYC venue with the technical capability to properly present [Lee “Scratch” Perry and Mouse on Mars’ “Spatial…No Problem] was Brooklyn’s National Sawdust, which hosted the tracks’ premiere, presenting them as mixed by Mouse on Mars and then custom-mapped by its director of Sound and Technical Design, Garth MacAleavey, using the venue’s immersive Meyer Sound system.

January 7, 2022

The New Yorker

“The Ferus Festival, National Sawdust’s weeklong plunge into experimental storytelling, ricochets between individual and collective experiences.”

December 21, 2021

The Financial Times

“Beth Morrison Projects, the estimable Brooklyn-based operatic producer/commissioner, collaborated for the first of two different programmes of songs by her superb stable of composers. Her presenting partner in 21c Liederabend Op Senses was Paola Prestini, the composer and founding artistic director of National Sawdust, the small, innovative performance space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The music was excellent… something of an all-star line-up, and all 11 of the composers on both nights were women. The singers, all recent graduates of the Juilliard School, were equally excellent.”

December 19, 2021


“Brooklyn’s National Sawdust reopens to the realm of the senses…It was an indulgent salon of new songs of nostalgia and reckoning co-produced with Beth Morrison Projects. It would have run the risk of being too busy had the music not been so good and the various indulgences so entertaining. It was a concert that tried too hard and succeeded on all counts.” 

December 16, 2021

Opera News

“An evening of evocative music inspired imaginative storytelling at 21c Liederabend Op. Senses at National Sawdust (seen Dec. 16). Co-produced and directed by Beth Morrison Projects and Paola Prestini, acclaimed for their work pushing the boundaries of classical performance, the night delivered a contemporary take on the traditional art-song recital. “

December 16, 2021

Broadway World

“Since its inception in 2015, National Sawdust has pushed the boundaries of the artistic experience for curators, creators and audiences alike, challenging established compositional and performative power structures and upturning presumed hierarchies of genre and form.”

December 15, 2021

New Sounds

“In 19th century Vienna, a liederabend was an evening of songs – that’s literally what the word means –  performed by leading musicians with works by Schubert, Schumann and similar composers. Generally, men. But in 21st century New York, the liederabend series at National Sawdust featured songs by eleven of today’s leading composers, two of them Pulitzer Prize winners, all of them women.”

June 22, 2021

The Strad

“… National Sawdust, a venue known for its pristine sound …”

June 22, 2021

San Francisco Classical Voice

“But as we emerge from the pandemic, BMP and Prestini’s National Sawdust (the innovative new music center she co-founded in Williamsburg, Brooklyn) are upping the ante with 21c Liederabend, op. Worldwide (digital) …”

June 14, 2021


“Founded in 2015, National Sawdust has positioned itself as an incubator for diverse talent that consistently pushes the boundaries of the artistic experience.”

March 12, 2021


“… One venue that’s continued to offer a wide-range of programming all throughout the pandemic [is] National Sawdust. It’s named after the sawdust factory that once occupied its building in Williamsburg. In the before-times, National Sawdust was known for serving as an incubator for up-and-coming performers and composers, and it has broadened its scope and impact on the New York City art scene since March of 2020”

March 8, 2021

National Sawdust’s statement on Roger Bonair-Agard

February 9, 2021

I Care If You Listen

“Though Google Maps currently marks Brooklyn’s National Sawdust venue as closed, this fertile ground for artistic exploration is anything but in hibernation. Opened in 2015 thanks to the efforts of attorney and organist Kevin Dolan and composer Paola Prestini, the former sawdust-factory-turned-contemporary-music-haven has just announced its Winter/Spring 2021 season, featuring a cornucopia of creative work from a stylistically rich cohort of composers, choreographers, poets, instrumentalists, dancers, and filmmakers.”

August 9, 2020

This Week in New York

“[Robert Wilson is] a master of combining stunning visuals with ingenious audio in mind-blowing productions that push the boundaries of what theater can be. So he’s a natural choice to take part in National Sawdust’s fourteenth volume of its Digital Discovery Festival, the theme of which is ‘Innovation.'”

July 29, 2020

The Washington Post

“NYC-based new music incubator/record label/performance center National Sawdust is weathering the turmoil of the new normal with a robust slate of exclusive online programming. Its ongoing Digital Discovery Festival is a weekly program of live performances and interviews featuring some of the most adventurous players and composers in the field.”

June 22, 2020

Time Out New York

“National Sawdust is celebrating Pride by commemorating the history and future of our city’s vibrant community and by celebrating artists who are creating music and theater with an explicitly LGBTQ+ perspective.”

April 21, 2020

SF Classical Voice

“Artists are absorbing the body blow of the COVID-19 shutdown in various ways, but those with institutional affiliations may be better situated. New music and experimental music performers are in the unenviable position of having the least institutional support, but the ones that are out there are rallying round. The standard-bearer here is National Sawdust. Last week, the Brooklyn-based presenter launched the Digital Discovery Series, an online portal consisting of “Discoveries” — 30-minute performances by the group’s usually eclectic artists — and “Masterclasses” featuring established artists, hosted by National Sawdust’s co-founder, artistic director, and best-known composer, Paola Prestini.”

“This is an important move in the overall new music system, one that may well survive the crisis. After the initial flood of livestreams and videos, National Sawdust is focusing on how artists can actually get paid enough to survive during this extended period of no work or income.”

February 18, 2020

Brooklyn Paper

“It’s really exciting for me to be in the National Sawdust space. I feel like they encourage experimentation and I feel like it is a chance for me to add some visual elements that bring a new aspect to the work,” – Shrines [Carrie Erving]

January 13, 2020


“… I made an afternoon visit to National Sawdust, a vibrant, innovative performance space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to attend a demonstration of the new Constellation and Spacemap systems installed there by Meyer Sound … Ellison then demonstrated how, using Spacemap, he could move sounds, live (via microphone) or recorded, to any place on any of the walls or ceiling and control the apparent distance of the sound. At first this seemed rather a gimmick, but performances by trumpeter/experimental sound musician Eric Dahlman and multi-instrumentalist/composer/performer Bora Yoon dispelled such concerns. As the two played and sang, voices separated, moved, and coalesced, and the ambiance varied to frame the shifting moods.”

November, 2019

The New Yorker

“The Ferus Festival, National Sawdust’s weeklong plunge into experimental storytelling, ricochets between individual and collective experiences. Two of Sawdust’s artists-in-residence offer deeply personal programs: Lucy Dhegrae, a survivor of sexual assault, contends with how trauma gives way to recovery through haunting pieces by Philippe Leroux and Francis Poulenc; Sonic, who is partially deaf, uses the venue’s new Meyer Sound system to re-create her aural experience.”

November 27, 2020

“[National Sawdust] has for some time been about the liveliest forum in town for new music, located in an old Brooklyn sawdust factory with a welcoming atmosphere, a record label, a fine restaurant and an online journal…”

Financial Times

November 2020

“National Sawdust has become Brooklyn’s new-music nerve centre in the five years since its October 2015 opening, hosting all manners of cross-genre performances, experimental opera stagings, training programmes for young composers and its own record label.”


November 6, 2019

“…cultural mecca National Sawdust.”


November 6, 2019

“National Sawdust’s mission is deeply rooted in music discovery. Their pillars are inclusivity, active mentorship of emerging artists, and building new audiences and communities for the ever evolving, dynamic music scene. The space takes your breath away as its spaceship-like design hides behind the facade of the historical early 20th century sawdust factory.”


October 23, 2019

“With this marvelous National Sawdust Tracks recording, Paul’s Case finds a home amongst the finest recorded opera performances of the Twenty-First Century.”

Voix des Arts

October 2, 2019

“…National Sawdust, New York’s trailblazing Brooklyn-based new music hub.”


September 29, 2019

“National Sawdust becomes the go-to venue for composers who want to follow their special bliss.”

Berkshire Fine Arts

September 12, 2019

“Eating from Tamino’s gentle, guitar-cradling hands, the crowd visibly compacts towards stage which is refreshingly not an issue because of National Sawdust’s spacious approach to capacity even for a standing show.”

The Prickle

August 5, 2019

“An artistic home for creatives and an incubator of vital new works, National Sawdust has practiced a devotion to representation of voices.”


April 24, 2019

“National Sawdust, a tiny, faceted modern jewel casket of a concert hall inserted in the shell of a former sawdust factory in Brooklyn, puts on roughly 250 concerts a year by a bewildering roster of musicians in a quickly evolving set of hybrid genres.”

Departures (in the May/June 2019 Print issue)

March 29th, 2019

“Met with a thunder of applause from both the orchestra and the balcony, [Amanda] Gookin’s risk-taking was welcomed by an outpouring of support from a rich musical scene, which was a joy to see.”

I Care If You Listen

Forward Music Project 2.0: in this skin, a National Sawdust Project, had its World Premiere at National Sawdust on March 20, 2019.

March 19th, 2019

“This Festival fits with the mission of National Sawdust a non-profit music venue with a mission to give emerging artists a place to perform and established artists a venue to try something new.”


Watch the full segment about the Pan Asia Sounding Festival at National Sawdust from NY1:

January 24th, 2019

“…take a minute to check out how diverse the programming is at this Williamsburg arts center. This week alone, you can hear Jorie Graham, Colm Tóibín, and Laurie Anderson read and perform; see drag collective Switch ‘n’ Play; enjoy a liquid light show; hear singer Queen Esther, a BB contributor; or catch a dance/opera about a coal miner whose eyes become lasers when he strikes a magic meteor.”

Brooklyn Based

January 21st, 2019

“…the Ferus Festival, which began in 2010—dismantled preconceptions of what opera is and does.”

The New Yorker

November 12th, 2018

“Brooklyn-based presenter National Sawdust put itself on the map with adventurous programming and a commitment to providing a nurturing home for composers. Earlier this year, it doubled down on its mission, inaugurating the Hildegard Competition for women, trans, and nonbinary composers.”

— Chamber Music Magazine

October 9th, 2018

“‘Muted’ may be the quietest piece ever written for violin, but it was riveting in this intimately powerful performance.”

The New York Times

“Muted” had its American premiere at National Sawdust on October 8, 2018.

September 22nd, 2018

“…[National Sawdust is] a vibrant space where artists and musicians can hone their craft.”


Listen to the full segment about National Sawdust from NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday below:

August 22nd, 2018

“…National Sawdust, an impressively designed venue in Brooklyn…”

The New Yorker

May 28th, 2018

“At a time when the classical-music Establishment is finally waking up to the presence of women composers and conductors in its midst, National Sawdust is out ahead.”

New York Magazine

May 14th, 2018

“a black-and-white world of perfect acoustic design, made for a new generation of audiophiles. Once the heavy black doors close behind you, crystalline triangular forms come into focus around the walls, while blue ambient light settles the senses. You’re automatically transported into a meditative state.”

Culture Trip

May 8th, 2018

“None is more ambitious or more successful than National Sawdust…All of these technical details result in a crystalline sound experienced in the space—there’s an almost shocking purity to it, like for the first time you’ve heard music the way it’s supposed to exist.”

“…being a force for artistic progress and social engagement is clearly part of [National Sawdust’s mission.] That, and an obvious commitment to audio fidelity, make the entire project a refreshing change from the raw capitalism of the music business, and one finicky enough to please even the crustiest audiophile.”


April 28th, 2018

“National Sawdust is a Brooklyn multimedia arts center that has become an increasingly important part of the new-music landscape.”

San Francisco Classical Voice

April 16th, 2018

“It was an immersive multimedia experience that took everyone in attendance on an unexpected journey…it was genius.”

Broadway World

April 12th, 2018

“National Sawdust is masterful at programming interesting, unique work that challenges the construct of the conventional.”

Broadway World

April 4th, 2018

“[National Sawdust is] an intimate, otherworldly space—white-panelled walls with jaggedly geometric black laces, ceiling and floor repeating the pattern, the mood of a kind of avant-garde hive.”

The New Yorker

April 4th, 2018

“National Sawdust is the place to go for wonderfully satisfying, cutting edge events.”

Berkshire Fine Arts

March 29th, 2018

“[The Revolution is] a musical sanctuary for artists in the community.”


March 22nd, 2018

“a small and acoustically pristine venue with a main area the size of a dancefloor.”


February 27th, 2018

“Avant-classical and alt-pop not-for-profit Brooklyn performance space National Sawdust thrives on staging the unexpected, the new, and the adventurous. An explicit celebration of female voices and multicultural musical influences, Spring Revolution is a breath of fresh air.”

What Should We Do

February 23rd, 2018

“It was such an honor and treasure to be present – if you still haven’t gotten to National Sawdust, you’re doing it wrong.”

Broadway World

February 20th, 2018

“a performance space in Brooklyn dedicated to highlighting women in music”


February 18th, 2018

“National Sawdust, the striking performance space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn…itself has a cameo in the Mozart in the Jungle season.”

The New York Times

February 14th, 2018

“On almost any given night at National Sawdust, the upstart Brooklyn concert hall and arts incubator Prestini co-founded in 2015, music lovers gather to listen to innovative jazz, hip-hop, pop, opera, live film scoring or spoken word. ”

The Wall Street Journal

February 14th, 2018

“National Sawdust is at the forefront of classical programming, pushing the charge to awaken our awareness of the innate underpinning of music within our fallible humanity.”

— Broadway World

February 12th, 2018

“the super-trendy…complex in Brooklyn”

San Francisco Chronicle

February 7th, 2018

“From Sasha Velour to Philip Glass, National Sawdust is dedicated to presenting pieces that speak to a new generation of arts enthusiasts.”

The Ace Hotel

February 6th, 2018

“a beautiful, intimate, state-of-the-art performance space”

The Irish Echo

February 5th, 2018

“Another night of incredible music at Williamsburg venue National Sawdust… I wondered to myself when was the last time I’d seen a performance this enthralling and cathartic.”

Pancakes and Whiskey

January 19th, 2018

“The two programs I saw were wild in various senses: unrefined, coming from nature, daring, and slightly magical.”

Classical Voice North America

January 9th, 2018

“National Sawdust is…currently the trendiest venue in classical music in New York.”

New York Classical Review

January 9th, 2018

“Trust me, you wish you’d been there…”

Broadway World

December 31st, 2017

“a room which looks even better than its pictures. Elegant, a gleaming black Boesendorfer concert grand parked center stage, the audience respectful, attentive.”


December 23rd, 2017

“The show’s set took up minimal space, yet with the help of projections, suggested vastness, as though a mountainous, Antarctic desert spanned the horizon.”


December 1st, 2017

“A devotional space for far-out sounds.”

The New York Times

November 27th, 2017

“National Sawdust in Brooklyn, New York is another great new venture that includes technology as part of the audience experience.”


November 26th, 2017

“National Sawdust is on the more interesting end of New Music.”

Daily Review Australia

November 25th, 2017

“It was the type of music you might associate with a traditional Ashkenazi wedding in a rural Polish shtetl…but only if you can imagine the band doing P-Funk covers.”
The New York City Jazz Record, in print

November 4th, 2017

“National Sawdust has become a major player on the new-music scene.”

The Washington Post

November 2nd, 2017

“Fantastic, genre-bending venue”

DEPARTURES Magazine, in print

November 2nd, 2017

Years ago, a disused 19th Century sawdust factory/warehouse was converted to an abruptly soaring music auditorium, with towering spaces, room for about 300, futuristic lighting, and a restaurant/bar. National Sawdust has been home to some of the world’s most illustrious contemporary composers and musicians, from Philip Glass to Terry Riley and John Zorn, with hosts like Esa-Pekka Salonen.

As well as–and this is the most important element– today’s young, dazzling, unknown, inventive creators. In fact, last night, seven of the composers were entirely new to me. Yet it was difficult not to fall madly in love with the variety, the verve, the vivacity from the performers and the music.”


October 13th, 2017

“National Sawdust’s interior is a complex design approach which, when done successfully, looks spectacular for its refined harmony.”

Architectural Digest

October 4th, 2017

”acoustics that rival the Sydney Opera House…a casual vibe nestled in an intimate high-end venue…by the very end of the journey, the audience was clapping, dancing, toasting, and hugging each other, thankful for a dreamy journey through nature’s four elements.”


September 25th, 2017

“[National Sawdust is] encouraging, uplifting, and supporting rising female musicians—both classical and non-classical. The season ahead is a multicultural endeavor boasting a team of nine female curators and artists-in-residence, and more. That’s definitely something worthy of a standing ovation.”


September 18th, 2017

“a cutting-edge music and event venue…inside, a soaring space, resonant as the inside of a guitar body.”

Direct Marketing News

August 29th, 2017

“this cutting-edge nonprofit venue is one of the sickest spots to catch a show in Brooklyn (if not all of NYC). Celebrating emerging artists, it’s your ticket to someday saying “I saw them before they were famous.”


August 7th, 2017

“full diversity and eclectic versatility of electroacoustic music was on vibrant, energetic display; the densely packed weekend of music was exciting, sometimes disconcerting and sometimes thrilling, and always fascinating.”

August 3rd, 2017

“Williamsburg’s National Sawdust has stolen the limelight…as the “go to” place for hip events in the classical industry.”

Gay City News

August 1st, 2017

“more tension into 90 minutes than a weekend binge-watch of slasher films…the intimate performance space at National Sawdust was packed to the rafters, with glitterati like Justin Vivian Bond and James Ivory sitting shoulder-to-shoulder… and utterly transfixed.”


July 29th, 2017

“among the most reliably rewarding destinations for innovative serious music in New York.”

La Scena Musicale

July 27th, 2017

“Brooklyn’s contemporary music sanctuary”

— I Care If You Listen

July 21st, 2017

“Riveting theater.”


July 20th, 2017

“Artistically, [National Sawdust’s] young and novel presence on the New York scene has been a smashing success.”

The New Yorker

July 14th, 2017

“Director Christopher Alden wrings every bit of unsettling darkness from this curious work in an excitingly contemporary production that employs inventive videos and even electronic tweaks of the instruments in the orchestra.”

The New York Times

July 10th, 2017

“[Countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo] has this super pianissimo that just stops traffic. National Sawdust is a more ideal space than the massive Met to experience it.”

The New York Times

July 9th, 2017

“Always a pleasure to visit and revel in the exquisite sonics at National Sawdust.”

Lucid Culture

July 7th, 2017

“The new Establishment [of classical music]…includes Paola Prestini, the founding artistic director of National Sawdust.”

New York Magazine/Vulture

July 5th, 2017

“The vocally brilliant and dramatically fearless countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo, working with the innovative opera director Christopher Alden, comes to National Sawdust in Brooklyn with a staged version of a Handel rarity: the 1708 dramatic serenata “Aci, Galatea e Polifemo.”

The New York Times

July 2nd, 2017

“Cutting-edge chamber opera is prominent at the stylish Williamsburg music club for the next two weeks.”

The New Yorker

June 25th, 2017

“During the sets, people are utterly silent; no one visits the restrooms; no one goes to buy a drink. The performances have our full attention, and the improvisational approaches are all the more exciting as the musicians experiment through their technology.”

Echoes and Dust

June 11th, 2017

“At National Sawdust in Williamsburg on Friday, the legendary avant-garde [William Basinski]’s music was confounding, overwhelming, and—just for a moment—eternal.”


May 29th, 2017

“This artist-led, non-profit music venue is cutting-edge in many ways… it has the music community of New York incredibly excited. Ideal for music lovers.”


May 9th, 2017

“A non-profit…with the modus operandi of providing support for young and up-and-coming composers inside a state-of-the-art sound space.”

National Trust for Historic Preservation

May 5th, 2017

#2 on the WSJ’s “Insider’s Guide to Brooklyn”

Wall Street Journal

February 10th, 2017

“National Sawdust has become more than a just place to see engaging contemporary music of all stripes. The Williamsburg venue has embraced its role as an educational space, with engaged programming that links the music to broader social issues.”

TimeOut New York

January 10th, 2017

“The buzz has shifted to National Sawdust, an artist-run nonprofit venue that opened in fall 2015 in Williamsburg.”

The Washington Post

December 23rd, 2016

“At its core, National Sawdust is a retooling of the 18th-century chamber hall model as an incubator for new music.”

The Architects Newspaper

August 31st, 2016

“National Sawdust… quickly establish[ed] itself as the preeminent presenter and resource for an eclectic diversity of downtown and contemporary concert music composers and performers.”

I Care If You Listen

June 27th, 2016

“National Sawdust has world-class sonics and is a perennially enjoyable place to take in a show.”

New York Music Daily

December 9th, 2015

“[National Sawdust] has been open only a few months. But it already feels like an invaluable part of the New York music scene.”

The New York Times

October 6th, 2015

“Nothing quite like [National Sawdust] exists in New York City, or anywhere else in the world, and it must be seen (and heard) to be believed indeed.”

The Village Voice

October 2nd, 2015

“National Sawdust, a deluxe live-music pod floating inside an old brick box in Williamsburg… seemed tough and full of magic.”

New York Magazine

Press Contact

John Seroff