Season 4

Hear it New!


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. In Season Four, National Sawdust builds upon its core mission of presenting cross-genre, interdisciplinary, and equity-based work to create a more inclusive playing field for artists while giving audiences a more expansive vision of what music can be. In addition to continuing our initiatives with the National Sawdust Log and National Sawdust Tracks, we’re doubling down on incubation as a core tenet of our organization. In Season Four, we will embark on new partnerships with music’s most vital institutions, touring our National Sawdust Projects around the world.

Our artists create an exciting continuum where musicians are breaking out of genres and labels. They also share the National Sawdust DNA: exceptional talent, thought-provoking messaging, and unparalleled commitment and creativity. These artists lead the charge in all facets of our programming this season, whether it is discovery led concerts by iconic composers such as John Zorn, Daniel Bernard Roumain and Tania León; new operas such as Chimera, a new drag queen opera written by composer Angélica Negrón; or giving our Artists-in-Residence the resources to tour projects combining music and important social issues at the Kennedy Center and Wallis Annenberg Center Performing Art Centers, including Amanda Gookin’s Forward Music Project and Andy Akiho’s Miyamoto is Black Enough, among others.

National Sawdust is the home for the curious, where anyone can Hear It New. We’re excited to share this impactful season with you, ripe with discovery, adventure, and purpose.

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


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.


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.


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.


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.