Hear It New!

Season 4

At National Sawdust, we believe that New Music not only has the power to deeply move audiences but can also thrust the social conversation forward.

-Paola Prestini, Composer, Co-Founder, and Artistic Director

Season Highlights

Terry Riley and Julian Wachner

National Sawdust launches their fourth season with a night devoted to new music from celebrated minimalist composer and Founding Artistic Advisory Board member Terry Riley, who has been lauded as a “pioneering American composer” and the “guru of American music” (New York Times).

Terry Riley, Gyan Riley & Gavin Rayna Russom

Minimalism meets punk rock synth as acclaimed American composer Terry Riley joins LCD Soundsystem’s Gavin Rayna Russom in a once-in-a-lifetime collaboration.

Devon Welsh

As the raw, emotionally vulnerable frontman for Majical Cloudz, Devon Welsh toured nationally with Lorde, winning over fans and critics alike, including a show at National Sawdust in 2015. He returns to our venue with his new solo project, stepping beyond the stylistic constraints of his previous work and exploring deep, transcendent themes that cut to the heart of what it means to be alive.

Miranda Cuckson and Michael Hersch


The 25th anniversary show of Low.

Lavinia Meijer

Lavinia Meijer plays Philip Glass's "Metamorphosis"

Karole Armitage

October 20th • 6:30pm doors • 7:30pm showPunk rock ballerina Karole Armitage performs a new ballet with all new music.

Karole Armitage

October 20th • 9:30pm doors • 10pm showPunk rock ballerina Karole Armitage performs a new ballet with all new music.

Chris Grymes presents: Joan Tower and Friends

A concert with Joan Tower on her 80th birthday.

Glass Handel

Glass Handel

FERUS Festival 2019: Jojo Abot

POWER TO THE GOD WITHIN is an interdisciplinary, immersive experience that re-presents the black being as divine and all powerful.

FERUS Festival 2019: Angélica Negrón’s “Chimera”

Written and composed by National Sawdust Artist-in-Residence Angélica Negrón, Chimera plays with ideas of fantasy and illusion, freely traveling from live singing to lip synch performances.

FERUS Festival 2019: Huang Ruo

The Sonic Great Wall draws inspiration from the Great Wall of China to disrupt the barrier between audience and performer.

FERUS Festival 2019: Huang Ruo

The Sonic Great Wall draws inspiration from the Great Wall of China to disrupt the barrier between audience and performer.

FERUS Festival 2019: Brooklyn Youth Chorus

Featuring works by a wide array of young and contemporary composers, the BYC’s Concert and Men’s Ensembles perform music that speaks directly to the most urgent themes of today.

BMP: Next Generation

February 20th at 7pm


National Sawdust Artists-in-Residence are either in early stages of their careers or at transition points, such as performance to composition, or from ensemble to solo work. They embody artistic excellence and are diverse in background and style; past residencies include musicians, writers, and stage directors.

National Sawdust Residency Program provides both individual artists and groups with space and technical/marketing staff support through recordings, rehearsals, shows as well as commissions. Over 80 hours of staff support for each residency with a total financial commitment of $450k (in kind and reward payments combined) ensure that these dedicated artists can present their new works in various stages of development in concert, often in collaboration with other artists they meet during their year-long residency.

Thea Little

Thea Little investigates the hybrid of performance art, dance-theater and experimental music with solos and group works.
August 2, 2018/by becki


PUBLIQuartet’s creative programming lends a fresh perspective to the classical music scene.
August 2, 2018/by becki

Julian Wachner

Named one of New York City’s “10 Imagination-Grabbing, Trailblazing Artists of 2014” by WQXR, music director Julian Wachner continues to enjoy an international profile as conductor, composer and keyboard artist.
August 2, 2018/by becki

J Hoard

J. Hoard is a Brooklyn based singer and songwriter on the Grammy Award winning “Coloring Book”. Since moving to BK he’s served as vocalist of the legendary hip-hop curated jam, The Lesson, in LES. Over the last three year’s J. Hoard’s voice, lyrical genius, and fashion has become a staple in the urban and traditional music scenes.
August 2, 2018/by becki

Gavilán Rayna Russom

Gavilán Rayna Russom is a New York based multimedia artist and composer of electronic music. Using the analog and digital synthesizer, she has produced a body of extremely influential art and music over the last 15 years. She is perhaps best known as the synthesist in the critically-acclaimed band LCD Soundsystem. Much of her work is informed by her deep relationship with the analog synthesizer, a tool she has applied herself to not only as a composer and player, but also as a designer and builder since 1999.
July 11, 2018/by becki

Innov Gnawa

Innov Gnawa is a Grammy-nominated musical collective dedicated to exploring Morocco’s venerable gnawa music tradition in the heart of New York City.
July 11, 2018/by becki


Taja Cheek, also known as L’Rain, is a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and vocalist from Brooklyn.
July 11, 2018/by becki


As one of the only organizations in the world of this scale with a practicing artist as Artistic Director, National Sawdust has long prided itself on its robust Artist-in-Residence program, which has helped over 40 artists or groups who have gone on to develop their craft across the world. With the success of the program, we have found it necessary to expand the Artist-in-Residence program to include Projects-in-Residence.

The National Sawdust Projects-In-Residence program formally begins with the 2018-19 season and will help artists and groups actualize a concept or further explore a burgeoning piece currently in development. By focusing on one concept, Projects-in-Residence contrasts with the Artist-in-Residence program, which focuses on developing an artist’s career, which can include multiple showcase concerts of different ideas.

Artists pursuing Projects-in-Residence will be given similar resources to our Artists-in-Residence.

Lucy Dhegrae’s The Processing Series

The Processing Series was sprung from a prompt to four composers: write a piece for voice with electronics, violin, and/or percussion that deals with an aspect of trauma recovery.
January 10, 2020/by Zan Emerson

We Were Fridays

We Were Fridays is a genre-shifting collaboration; inspired by a series of interviews charting a family and their journey through America. This project features renowned cellist Jeffrey Zeigler collaborating with famed Tokyo based Butoh master, Dai Matsuoka of Sankai Juku.
August 3, 2018/by becki

Amanda Gookin’s Forward Music Project 2.0

After a powerful first season exploring a wide range of issues facing women and girls around the globe in March 2017, cellist Amanda Gookin returns for an all–new season featuring all–new works. As a 2018-2019 National Sawdust Project-in-Residence, the Forward Music Project 2.0, in this skin, will focus on the first-person perspectives of women.
August 3, 2018/by becki

Huang Ruo’s Resonant Theatre: The Sonic Great Wall

To break down the barriers between the audience and performers while examining the theme or borders, composer Huang Ruo’s Resonant Theatre: The Sonic Great Wall is a sonic, spatial, visual, and audience-interactive project inspired by the Great Wall of China.
July 11, 2018/by becki

Angelica Negron’s Chimera

Composer and multi-instrumentalist Angélica Negrón will develop her chamber opera Chimera, featuring seven different drag performers – including RuPaul’s Drag Race season 9 contestant Alexis Michelle – playing the same role, personifying the different sides of a single identity.
July 11, 2018/by becki

Julia Adolphe’s A Barrel of Laughs, A Vale of Tears

With A Barrel of Laughs, A Vale of Tears, composer of notable choral, orchestral, operatic, chamber, and art song pieces Julia Adolphe and librettist Stephanie Fleischmann adapt Jules Feiffer’s loopy fairytale about Izzy, a young royal, doomed to make everyone around her laugh so hard that nothing gets done in her presence into an opera for audiences of all ages.
July 11, 2018/by becki

Untitled (inspired by Film Stills)

Untitled (inspired by Film Stills) is a series of four operatic monodramas exploring the stages of transformation and identity in a woman’s life.
February 2, 2018/by Zan Emerson


National Sawdust is more than a music venue, it is music, hand-picked by curators, just for you.  We don’t use an algorithm to find music for you, we rely on a curation model where master artists in their own genres function as artistic guides by bringing their unique points of view to programming. This program gives curators a platform to advance the field through promoting emerging artists as well as established voices from around the world.

Chris Grymes

An eclectic and versatile performer, clarinetist Chris Grymes’ playing has been described as “scintillating in its energy and technique” (The Clarinet), and “eloquent...animated and free of any interpretive self indulgence” (The Strad). Most recently, Mr. Grymes was praised by The New York Times for his “acuity” and The Baltimore Sun for his “admirable technical and expressive strengths”.
September 17, 2018/by Zan Emerson

Karole Armitage

KAROLE ARMITAGE (AG!D Artistic  Director/Founder) of the New York-based Armitage Gone! Dance Company, was rigorously trained in classical ballet. As a professional dancer she performed in Balanchine’s Grand Théâtre de Genève Company and in the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. Armitage is renowned for pushing boundaries to create contemporary works to engage in philosophical questions about the search for meaning.
August 7, 2018/by Zan Emerson


AdHoc is a Brooklyn-based music publication and events company created by a community of music lovers with a shared ethos: that of building the world you want to see using the materials at your disposal. This season at National Sawdust, we aim to highlight voices pushing contemporary underground music into surprising new shapes, with a focus on femme and non-binary artists.
August 7, 2018/by Zan Emerson

Tania León

Tania León is a Cuban-born composer, conductor, educator and advisor to arts organizations. In 1969 León became a founding member and the first musical director of Arthur Mitchell's Dance Theater of Harlem, establishing its music department, music school, and orchestra.
July 11, 2018/by becki

Daniel Bernard Roumain

Daniel Bernard Roumain’s (DBR) acclaimed work as a composer and performer spans more than two decades, and he has been commissioned by venerable artists and institutions worldwide.
July 11, 2018/by becki


The American Modern Opera Company is an opera company on a new model. The company serves as the artistic home for seventeen of the most exciting singers, dancers, and instrumentalists of the rising generation.
July 11, 2018/by becki

Du Yun

Born and raised in Shanghai, China, currently based in NYC, Du Yun * is a composer, multi-instrumentalist and performance artist. Her music exists at an artistic crossroads of orchestral, chamber music, theatre, opera, orchestral, cabaret, storytelling, pop music, visual arts and noise.

Hailed by The New York Times as a leading figure in China’s new generation of composers, Du Yun’s music is championed by some of today’s finest performing artists, ensembles, orchestras and organizations. Selected commissions include the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Mann Center for the Performing Arts, American Composers Orchestra, Berkeley Symphony, Whitney Museum of American Art, Fromm Foundation, Meet the Composer/ Commissioning USA, Chamber Music America, and Shanghai Electronic Music Week.  Du Yun’s music has also been presented by Festival d’Avignon (France), Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ (The Netherlands), Musica Nova Helinski (Finland), Ultima Oslo Contemporary Music (Norway), Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik Darmstadt (Germany), Festival Internacional Cervantino (Mexico), Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, BAMNextWave, violinist Hilary Hahn, cellist Matt Haimovitz, and flutist Claire Chase, Trinity Wall Street, Festival of New Trumpet, Ecstatic Music Festival, 21c Liederabend, the San Francisco Contemporary Chamber Players, and many more.
August 28, 2017/by Zan Emerson


Some ideas require more space to explore than a single concert can grant. National Sawdust Series present artistic concepts on a recurring basis, often once a month. Series feature either a single artistic curator or serve as a deep dive into a single idea, whether it’s John Zorn commissioning a new world premiere every month, Afropunk’s expert eye for the best talent in New York, or our family-friendly Jazz for Kids.

National Sawdust Tours and Partnerships

National Sawdust Projects incubates and produces over a dozen new works every year with the goal of breaking out of our venue’s walls and bringing them to the global stage. This year, Amanda Gookin’s Forward Music Project and Andy Akiho’s Miyamoto is BlackEnough will tour The Kennedy Center, The Wallis Annenberg Center for Performing Arts, the Women of the World festival in the UK, and the Classical: Next festival in Rotterdam.